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The following contribution to local history had its origin in a natural wish on 
the part of the author to know as much as could be ascertained with certainty of 
the early history of his own parish. The publications of the Spalding Club and 
kindred antiquarian societies have suggested and facilitated many such inquiries. 
In the present case the antiquities of a Eoyal Burgh, which had been obscure for 
centuries among the Scottish municipalities, became a tempting subject of 
research after the discovery that the burgh was in existence before A.D. 1200 ; to 
which fact, as a piece of curious information, the author's attention was drawn by 
the late Dr. Joseph Eobertson when that gentleman was editing Volume 
IV. of the Spalding Club " Antiquities of the Shires of Aberdeen and 
Banff." A minute examination of a number of the authentic documents printed 
by the same Club, brought to light other highly interesting particulars respecting 
individual dwellers in the Burgh of Inverurie, or its neighbourhood, in long past 
times ; while other works by historical antiquarians and local discoveries of 
prehistoric remains furnished matter introductory to a continuous memoir of the 
topography of Inverurie and the Garioch, and of recorded inhabitants of the 
district from the time when Saxon civilisation was introduced into it by Malcolm 
Canmore and Queen Margaret. 

The peculiar position of the Earldom of the Garioch in Scottish history, led 
to an investigation as to what families and estates were of local importance at 
the successive epochs of David of Huntingdon's Earldom, and the battles of 
Inverurie and Harlaw, and during the long period when the Lordship of the 
Garioch was withheld, along with the Earldom of Mar, by the Stuart kings from 
the hereditary claimants — the Erskines, descended from Elyne, daughter of 
Gartney Earl of Mar, and Christian, Lady of the Garioch. 

vi Preface. 

The local history of a large immediately succeeding period the author had 
opportuninity, from his position, of investigating by means of unpublished docu- 
ments, ecclesiastical and municipal — the Eecords of local Church Courts, and the 
Court Books and Sasine Eegisters of the Burgh of Iuverurie. 

The information drawn from these ecclesiastical and burgh manuscripts, has, 
as new material of history, been given in the form of literal extracts. It has not 
been thought necessary to encumber the work with marginal references to the 
very great mass of topographical and genealogical particulars obtained from the 
Spalding Club books, and put into connection and historical position in this 
volume, — the indices to these books affording sufficient means of verification. 

With the object of making the Index of greater value for genealogical refer- 
ence, dates have been appended to individual names; and by the same means a 
connected view is given of the proprietary of individual estates, which the chro- 
nological arrangement of the work did not make otherwise possible. The Index 
has also been taken advantage of to supplement in some particulars the details 
of matters treated of in the text. The diversity in the spelling of proper names 
that appears in the work has intentionally been allowed to remain, as itself a 
historical feature of the periods described. 

The author has had the advantage of extensive aid in the topographical and 
genealogical portions of the work from several gentlemen, able from private 
sources to enhance the value of the publication in these respects. Messrs 
George Burnett, Lyon King of Arms, Alexander Johnston, and Charles Dalrymple, 
have been at much pains in giving accuracy and interest to notices of family 
history. The illustration at page 73, was obligingly furnished by Mr. Alexander 
Walker, Dean of Guild of the City of Aberdeen, from his " Life of John 
Ramsay," and the Genealogical Appendix has been enriched by historical par- 
ticulars taken from his List of the Deans of Guild of that city. 

The compilation of the materials, presented in historical connection in this 
volume, has been the work of long time, and the inquiries rendered necessary 
brought to the author's notice the existence of a great mass of hitherto un- 
pubbshed and interesting matter. The records of the several Presbyteries of 
Aberdeen and Banffshires, and of some of the parishes, contain much that 

Preface. vii 

illustrates the condition of society in Scotland during a large portion of the 
seventeenth century. Numerous particulars of family history are preserved in 
local Eegisters of Sassine and the Protocol Books of notaries public ; and there 
remain, even after the lahours of the Spalding Club, charter chests that would 
amply repay investigation. Two of them are repeatedly referred to in this 
volume, — that of Balquhain, much of which was printed by the late Colonel 
Leslie, and that of Bourtie, — portions of which possessing historical interest the 
author has given in the following pages. 



Primitive Inhabitation. — The Bass and Stauners of Inverurie — 1. Dunnideer — Ardtannies — 2. 

Remains of Stone Period— Cists, Urns, Cairns, and Tumuli — 3. Discovery at Broomend — 4. 
Ancient Highways.— Fords of Don to Dunnideer— Tyrebagger to Inverurie — Stone Circles and 

Sculptured Monoliths— 5. Inverurie to Monymusk— 6. Double Road from Broomend to 

Drimmies and the Warders' Castle— Branch to Caskieben— 7. Leslie to Dunnideer— 8. 

Inverurie to Meldmm and Howford— The Roman Iter — 9. 

Chapter I. 

NRURIN. — Vernacular Names— 11. Dunnideer— King Arthur— 12. 

Celtic Civilisation.— Iona— Pictish Kingdoms— Mormaories of Mar and Buchan— The Garioch and 
Strathbogie in the Crown — King Aodh buried at Nrurin — 13. Gregory the Great — Culdees at 
Monymusk— Chapel of Apollinaris— Ard Tonies— Early Lords of Ardtannies— 14. Malcolm 
Canmore— Robert, Prince of the Catti— Traces of the Danes— 15. Bartolf, ancestor of the 
Leslies— "Grip Fast"— The Leslies— 16. Saxon Civilisation— The Romish Church— Parishes 
and Monasteries— Culdee Stations— 17. Priory of Monymusk— The Durwards — 18. 

The Earldom of the Garioch— 18. David Earl of Huntingdon and the Garioch— Earldom Lands, 
original and alienated— Knockinglews— Earl David's Lands— 19. Coroner's Lands of Blakhall 
—Style of Earl David— Ecclesiastical Gifts ante 1200—20. Local Priests— Tofts in Royal 
Burghs given to Monasteries-Mixture of Population— Flemings— 21. Food— The Legate Galo 
—Fortunes of Earl David— 22. His Death and Descendants— John the Scot— Isobel, wife of 
Robert Bruce— 23. The Four Roberts— Close of the Earldom— 24. 

The Kirk of Rothael and Burgh of Inverthurin— 24. Papal Bulls to the Abbey of Lindores— 
Earl David's Charter— Garioch Vicarages— 25. First Churches at Inverurie— The Abbey Toft 
—26. The Vicar's Glebe— Date of the Burgh— 27. Burgh of Kintore— Limits of Inverurie 
Royalty— 28. The Davo of Inverurie— 29. Lands of the Lord Superior of Regality— 30. 

The Constables of Enrourie— 30. Wealth of Scotland circa 1200— Norman Immigrants— Malcolm, 
Constable— Crusade— Private Estates— 31. Earl David's Preparation for the Crusade— Badi- 
furrow— Sir Kenneth of Scotland— 32. Prominent Surnames— Norman, Constable— Rothie- 
norman— Auchterless— Frendraught— Slavery— Spital of Old Aberdeen— 33. Caskieben— 
Norino, Constable— Isobel de Bruce and her Son— The Leslies of Fifeshire— The Bruces— 34. 



Royal Visits to Kintore— Thomas the Rhymer and the Bass of Inverurie— Vicarage Endowments 
Ratified — 35. Functions of the Abbeys — Fetternear — Birse — 36. Garioch Priests and others, 
1199-1262 — Richard, Vicar of Inverurie— Bishop's Court at Inverurie — Sir Philip, First of the 
Meldrums — Schools of Aberdeen — Episcopal Estates — Glack and Fingask — Sir Norman de 
Leslie, Adopter of the Surname — 37. Leslie in Fife — 38. 

The War of Independence. — Contest for the Crown — Edward I. of England— 38. King Edward's 
Claim of Overlordship — Selection of John Baliol — The Bruce — Bishop Cheyne — Submissions to 
Edward I. — 39. Edward I. in Aberdeenshire — Chief Northern Highway — 40. Wallace at 
Fetternear — Tactics of Edward I. — Bruce and Earl of Badenoch — Donald and Gartney, Earls of 
Mar — Marriages — 41. Andrew of Moray — Kildrummie Castle — Baliol Faction — 42. " Mak 
Siccar" — Sir Thomas de Longueville — Companions of Bruce — His Coronation — 43. Loss of 
Battle and Destitution — Flight by Aberdeen and Deeside to the West— 44. Kildrummie taken 
by the English— Captivity and Suffering of the Royal Household — Successes — 45. 

The Battle of Inverurie. — John Barbour — The King's Recovered Fortunes— Sick at Inverurie— 
Carried to Strathbogie — 46. Cumyn, Earl of Buchan — Winter Encampment at Ardtnnnies — Yule 
of 1308 — 47. " Brace's Cave " — " Bruce's Camp " — " Bruee's Howe" — Companions in Camp 
— Thomas, Vicar of Inverurie— Attack on Inverurie by Sir David t>f Brechin — 48. The King 
Aroused — Pursuit and Onslaught at Barra— Subjugation of Buchan and the North — 49. Local 
Individuals of the Period — 50. Memorials of the Battle of Inverurie— Cumyn's Camp — 51. 
Old Meldrum in 1308—52. 

Chapter II. 

The Regality of the Garioch — 53. Its Establishment, Alienation, and Seizure — The Lords of the 
Garioch — 54. Ancient Earls of Mar, Domnhall in 1014 to Donald in 1332 — 55. Elyne of 
Mar — Lords of the Garioch, Earls of Mar — Lines of Mar and of Erskine — 56. Christian, first 
Lady of the Garioch — Thomas, Lord of the Garioch — Margaret, Lady of the Garioch— 57. 
James, Lord of the Garioch — Isobel, Lady of the Garioch — Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar and 
of the Garioch — Bargain with the Crown — 58. Usurpation by the Crown against Sir Robert 
Erskine — William St. Clair, Earl of Orkney, Lord of the Garioch — Lords nominated from 
the Royal Family — The Erskines, Heirs of the Earldom of Mar and Lordship of the Garioch — 
Right of Lord Erskine acknowledged by Queen Mary — 59. 

Lands and Families in the Garioch before the Battle of Harlaw. — Leslie Lands — Schyres of 
Rayneand Daviot— Ardlar — Lediugham and Mellinside — Caskieben— Norman, Constable — Con- 
glass— Balhaggardy — 60. Rothmaise, Lentush, Mill of Rayne, Crossflat, Adam of Rayne to 
Henry St. Michael — Newton — Threepland — Bonnytown — Tillymorgan — Williamston — Wrang- 
ham — Oyne, Thomas Menzies to Archibald Weschell— Hays of Errol — Constable of Scotland — 
Castle of Slains — Cordyce, Sir James Garioch — Drum, William Irvine — 61. Hall-forest, Sir 
Robert Keith, Marischal of Scotland — Family of Hill of Kintore — Thanage of Kintore — The Earl 
of Sutherland— John Dunbar, Earl of Moray — Thainston and Foullertoun — Glasgoforest, Robert 
Glen — Balnacraig, Randolf, Earl of Murray to Robert Chalmers of Kintore— 62. Caskieben, 
Norman to Stephen the Clerk — Kinbroun and Badechash — Glack, Pilmar to Glaster — Sir Andrew 
Murray of Bothwell — Meikle Wardes — Conglass, Balhaggardy, Boynds, Inveramsay, Drum- 
durnoch, Pitskurry, Pitbee, Pittodrie, Newlands, Andrew Buttergask to Sir Robert Erskine — 63. 
Bourtie, Goblanch the Smith, to William of Meldrum — Charters — John of Abernethie 
to Barclay of Kerkow— The Barclays of Tolly and Gartly— 64. Kemnay, Sir Norman Leslie to 

Contents. xi 

Andrew Melville — Pitfichie and Balnerosk, Henry of Monymnsk to David Chalmers. The 
Abercronibys — Harthill, Ardoyne, Roger Haye to Alexander de Abercromby — John of Ports- 
town — Aquhorties, Auquhorsk, and Blairdaff, Leslie to Abercromby — 65. First Leslie of 
Balquhain, Syde, and Braco — Leiths of Edingarroeh, Bothney, Harebogs and Blackbogs, 
Drumrossie, "William Leith — Kirklands of Little Badechash— Mill of Follethrule— Foleth- 
blackwater — Meiklefolla — Adam Pyngle — Lethinty, Robert Bunrard to Forbes of Pitsligo — 
Meldrum, Philip de Melgdrum to William Seton — 66. Fyvie, Reginald Le Chene to Meldruin 
— Forbes of Tolquhon — Fyvie Castle— Preston and Meldrum Towers — Bisset of Lessendrum — 
Straehan of Gleukindy— 67. 

Historical Events. — Leading Individuals— 67. King Robert I— Bishop Cheyne — Sir Robert Keith 
— Sir James de Garviaeh — Christian Bruce — Sir Andrew Murray of Bothwell — 68. Donald, 12th 
Earl of Mar — His Fortunes — Invasion by Edward Baliol — Battle of Duppliu— 69. The English 
Party — Siege of Kildrummie — Battle of Kilblene — 70. Relief of Kildrummie— Siege of Dun- 
darg — Foundation of the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin of the Garioch — Famine and Pestilence — 
Local Lairds and Priests — 71. David II. — Captivity and Hostages — Public Men — Provost 
William Leith — John Leith— The Bell " Lourie " — 72. Norman de Leslie — League with 
France — Sir Robert Erskine, Chamberlain of Scotland— 73. " Lang Jonnie More "—Laurence 
Preston — William Earl of Douglas— Thomas Earl of Mar, Lord of the Garioch, Chamberlain of 
Scotland — His Charters — Courtestoun, and Fleming Law — His English connection — 74. His 
Journeys — Cameron of Brux — Stephen the Clerk, " Secretar to the Earl of Mar " — 75. 
Margaret, Lady of the Garioch, and William Earl of Douglas — Troubles of King David's Reign 
— Sir Robert Erskine, Arbiter of the Throne— Sir John Swinton — 76. James of Douglas — 
Battle of Ottej'burn — Priest Lundy — Hotspur — Ransom of Ralph Percy — Robert de Keith — 77. 
The " Fecht at Bourtie" — Sir Henry Preston of Fyvie — Isobel, Lady of the Garioch — Sir 
Malcolm Drummond — Alexander Stewart — 78. 

Ecclesiastical Events.— Wild Manners of the Clergy — William de Deyn— 78. Endowments of the 
Garioch Churches in 1366 — 79. Endowment of the Six Chaplainries of the Chapel of Garioch 
— 80. Archdeacon John Barbour, Parson of Rayne— 81. 

Chapter III. 

State or Society. — Misrule of Regent Albany— Social Crimes — Marriages of Ladies of Rank — The 
Ladies of the Garioch — 83. Contracts for Mutual Defence— Chivalry— Tournaments— Alexander 
Stewart, Earl of Mar— 84, Cateran Violence— Burning of Elgin— Battle of Glasclune— Duel 
on the Inch of Perth— 85. 

The Earl of Mar.— His Popularity in Aberdeen— Robert Davidson— William Chalmers— 85. Seizure 
of Kildrummie Castle and Marriage of Isabel Countess of Mar— Sanctioned under Bargain by 
the Crown— Naval Exploits— 86. Expedition to France— Style in Paris— Siege of Liege- 
Creation of Knights— Sir Alexander Keith, Sir. John Menzies, Sir Alexander Irvine— Marriage 
with the Lady of Duffle in Brabant — Importation of Flemish Horses— Christmas 1410 at Kil- 
drummie — Bishop Greenlaw— Henry de Lichton— 87. 

The Battle of Harlaw. — Albany's Wrong to Donald Lord of the Isles — Donald's Appeal to Arms — 
His Progress towards Aberdeen— The Earl of Mar sent against Him— 88. The Royal 

]T orces Aberdeen Burgesses— Force from Angus and Mearns— Rendezvous at Inverurie — Royal 

Vassals— Earldom Vassals— 89. Church Vassals— Inverurie Burgesses— The Marischal's Re- 
tainers Kemnay— 90. Bisset of Lessendrum — Lord Gordon — Formartine Vassals— The 

Forbeses of Drumminnor, Brux, Pitsligo, and Tolquhon— Donald's Officers— Maclean of'Duart— 


The Chief of Mackintosh —Cameron of Lochiel — Scene of the Battle — 91. Mar's Lines of 
March upon Harlaw — 92. The Struggle— Losses— Following up the Victory — The Hebrides — 
Lowland Supremacy Secured — Tombstone of Gilbert Greenlaw — 93. Traditions of the Battle — 
The Drum Stane — Rose of Kilravock — Provost Robert Davidson — Sir Alexander Keith — 94. 
William Tullidaff of That Ilk— The Pleyfauld— The BaUad— 95. Sir James the Kose and Sir 
John the Graeme— Northern Ballads — 98. 

Chapter IV. 

Rise of New Families. — Hereditary Sheriff — 99. Branches of Balquhain Family — Kincraigie, 
Wardes, New Leslie, Pitcaple — Progress of Estates — Johnston of That Ilk and Caskieben 
— Glack, Glaster to Elphinstone — 100. Setons of Meldrum, Blair, Barra, Bourtie, and 
Pitmedden — Leith of Barnes — Forbeses of Pitsligo, Kinaldy, and Lethinty — Reddendum for 
Lethinty — Westhall — Melvil, Ramsay, Bishop Ingeram — Auchleven, Ogilvy to Leith — 101. 
Reddendum for Auchleven — Ardoyne — Harlaw — Sir John Wemys — Duncanston and Glander- 
ston— Lord Elphinstone — Kemnay — Melville, Auchinleck, Douglas — Little Warthill — Glaster, 
Gordon, Cruickshank of Tillymorgan— Braeo — Drimmies, Glascha, Wood of Drumcoutane — ■ 
Patrick Gordon of Methlic, ancestor of the Earls of Aberdeen — Blakhall of That Ilk — Coroner 
and Forester of the Garioch — Barra — 102. Blakhall of Barra — King of Barra Genealogy — 
Thornton, Strachan of — 103. Lindores Estates — Badifurrow, Balbithan, Hedderwick, Crag- 
forthie — Monymusk, Forbes — Fetternear, Earl of Huntly — Temple Lands— Rothienorman — 
Cushnie — Pitblaine, Thomson — Rothmaise and Lentush, Tullidaff— Tuliidaff's Cairn— Close 
of the Original Family of Leslie — 104. Beginning of Leslies of Leslie — Social Position of Garioch 
Lairds — Fortified Houses — The Erskiue Claims — Social Condition — 105. Comparative Wealth 
of Scottish Nobles circa 1400—106. 
State of Society. — Europe Distracted — Albany's Government — 106. Scotland and France — Con- 
stable Buchan — The Maid of Orleans — Rival Popes — Morals in Scotland — Insecurity of Life and 
Property — Bastardy — The Wolf of Badenoch — Sir Andrew Leslie of Balquhain — Fortress of 
Benachie — 107. Close of the Earl of Mar's History — "Young Waters" — 108. King James at 
Christ's Kirk— 109. 
Local Government— 109. New Lords of the Garioch— William St. Clair, Chamberlain of Scot- 
land, ancestor of the Lords Sinclair and the Earls of Caithness — The Queen of James II. — John, 
his son — Kobert Cochrane — Alexander Duke of Albany, Earl of Mar and the Garioch — 110. 
John Earl of Mar and the Garioch, son of James III. — Alienation of Lands of Mar and Garioch 
— Lord Elphinstone — Thanage of Kintore and Regality Lands conveyed by James IV. to John 
Leslie of Wardes— 111. Flodden Victims— St. Serve of Monkegy— 112. 
The Seton Gordon, ancestor of the Dukes of Gordon— Lord Gordon— First Earl of Huntly—" Jock 
and Tam Gordons "— " Bow o' Meal " Gordons— 112. Family Alliances— Erskine and Forbes — 
Origin of the Opposing Factions of the Gordons and Forbeses — 113. 
The Burgh of Inverurie.— Southern and Northern Hanses— Laws of the Four Burghs— 113. Con- 
dition of Inverurie circa 1400 — Neighbours — 114. Appearance of the Place— Residents — 
Occupations— 115. Offences and Penalties— 116. Merchants contra Tradesmen— 117. Quali- 
fications of a Burgess — Provision for Children — Combinations and Strikes — Size of Burgh 
Properties— Walter Ydill, Vicar of Inverurie— 118. Burgh Properties, 1464-76-119. Baillie, 
Town and Parish Clerk, and Sergeant — 1466 and 1476 — 120. Weddings among Neighbouring 
Lairds — Murdoch Glaster, and Janet Lichton — John de Johnston of Caskieben and Marjory 


Lichton, Gilbert de Johnston, and Elene Lichton — Bishop Lichton — Johnston of Caskieben, 
1428-1547—121. A Tocher in 1481— The Blakhalls, 1398-1491— Burning of the House of 
Ardendraught — Rioters in 1492 — Parishioners of Kinkell in 1473 — Decreet of Stipend — William 
Auchinleck, Parson — 122. Magistrates and Burgh Lairds of Kintore in 1498 — Prices in 1479 

Sentiment — Violence and Pious Services — 123. Pilgrimages — 124. 

Local Clekgy. — Vicars of Inverurie — Walter Ydill, William Scrogy, Robert Howieson, George 
Anderson, Andrew Bisset, Gilbert Cranstoun, 124. Parsons of Kinkell — Henry Lichton, 
William Auchinleck, Adam of Gordon, James Ogilvie, Alexander Galloway, Henry and Thomas 
Lumsden. Garioch Vicars — Kinkell, ecclcsia plcbania, and its Chaplainries of Kintore, 
Kemnay, Skene, Kinnellar, Drumblade, and Dyce — Bishop Lichton's Buildings in the 
Cathedral — 125. Parsons of Rayne, Archdeacons — Vicars of Bethelnie, Chancellors — Parsons of 
Daviot, Treasurers — Monymusk Priory — Constitution, Rental, Priors, and Denes — 126. Vicars 
of Monymusk — 127. Vicar of Kemnay — Kemnay House — Douglas of Kemnay — Collihill 
Chaplainry Glebe — 128. Masses in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin of the Garioch — Neigh- 
bouring Priests— Bishops Tenants at Fetternear, in 1511 — 129. Tenant Right— 130. 

Learning. — Foundation of the Universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen — Bishop Elpin- 
stone and his College — 130. Aberdeenshire Families circa 1512 — Defects in the University — 131. 
Bridge of Dee — Bishop Gavin Dunbar — Alexander Galloway, Parson of Kinkell — 132. Kirk of 
Kinkell — 133. Philosophy and Art, circa 1500 — 134. Voyage to the Western Isles by the 
Principal of King's College and the Parson of Kinkell — " On the Hebrideau Isles and the Goose 
bearing Trees " — 135. Works executed by Alexander Galloway — Cathedral Chartulary — Robbery 
of Cathedral Jewels by Forbes of Corsindae — 136. 

Life among the Barons. — Feudal Power in Scotland — The Court of Session — Raid upon Aberdeen — 
137. State of the Town — Castle of Balquhaiu Burned by the Forbeses — Difficult Reconciliation 
— First Leslies of Wardes— Flodden and Pinkie — 138. The Douglases of Kemnay — Inter- 
marriages — Slaughter of Seton of Meldrum by the Master of Forbes and his Followers— 139. 
Estates of Lord Forbes, in 1552 — First Laird and Lady of Warthill— 140. Manslaughter — Setons 
of Mounie — Subdivision of farms before 1552 — Rental in money and kind with Grassums — 141. 

Parochial Matters in the Garioch.— Bishops' Court at Rayne — 141. Quarrel at Insch — Election 
of Parish Clerk of Inverurie— Inverurie Parishioners in 1536 — 142. James Kyd, Vicar Pen- 
sioner — 143. Election of Parish Clerk of Daviot— Daviot Parishioners in 1550—144. 

Eve of the Reformation. — Alienation of Church Property to Powerful Laymen — Commendators of 
Deer and Lindores — 144. Fetternear Conveyed to William Leslie of Balcmhain — State of 
Preaching — Lives of the Clergy — Attempted Reformation — Rioters from the South — 145. Queen 
Mary at Balquhain Castle — The Earl of Huntly's Designs — Battle of Corrichie — 146. Last 
Days of the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin of the Garioch — The Chaplainries of Warthill, Pit- 
gaveny, Collihill, and Kirkinglass erected into an Hospital of Balhaggardy — United Parish of 
Logiedurno and Fetternear — 147. The Last of the Priests — Dr John Leslie, Parson of Oyne, 
Bishop of Ross, and Mary Queen of Scots— 148. The Black Acts — 149. 

Chapter V. 

Royal Charter of Novodamus to Inverurie. — Burgh Officials and Duties in 1580—150. Prices- 
Manners among the Lairds— Feuds and Slaughter— 151. Demoncraft— 152. 
The Beginning of the Reformed Kirk.— Paucity of Ministers in 1570—152. Garioch Parishes— 


Superintendents— Patronage — Presbyteries of Inverurie and Mar— 153. Readers, Exhorters, and 
Ministers — 154. Professor Johnston — 155. New Parish of Chapel of Garioeh — Hospital of 
Balhaggardy — Papists — Jesuit Priests in 15SS — Nominal Bishops — Succession of Church 
Governments — 1 56. 

King James's Kirks. — Vicarages of Lindores made Rectories — Lordship of Lindores — 156. The 
Abbey Possessions in the Garioeh — Stipends secured to the New Rectories— 157. History of 
Stipends, 1560-1649 — Institution at Inverurie— at Leslie — 159 ; at Premnay — at Bourtie — Mr. 
James Mill, Rector of Inverurie — 160. Neighbouring Ministers — Shakespeare at Aberdeen — 
Bishop Blackburn — Bishop Alexander Forbes — 162. Bishop Patrick Forbes — Bishop Adam 
Bellenden— 163. 

State of Education.— Marischal College — The Franciscan Monastery, Aberdeen — Lord Altrie — 
George Fifth Earl Marischal— State of Clerical Education in 1573—163. The Battle of Bel- 
rinnes— The Popish Lords — Catholic and Protestant Factions — Dr. Arthur Johnston, the Latin 
Poet— 164. " Whar Gadie rins "—167. Portraits of Arthur Johnston— 168. 

The School of Invekukie under King James's Episcopacy. — Education and Schools before the 
Reformation — 169. Want of Schools in 1601 — Inability to Write — Latin in Kintore — Country 
Pupils at the Aberdeen Schools, 1612 — 170. Grammar School for Inverurie, 1606— First 
Masters — 171. Emoluments and Duties — Mr. Alexander Mitchell, Schoolmaster — 172. 
Locality of Inverurie School — Backwardness of Heritors — 173. 

Urbs In Rure. — Principal Inhabitants of Inverurie — Norman Leslie — 173. Johnston Families — The 
Cross— The Tolbooth— The Manse— 174. Midtown— The Mill Road— 175. 

Ardtannies— 175. History— 176. Lairds— The Hall— 177. 

The Mill of Inverurie. — Mills in Inverurie — Walter Lines, Miller, and sometime Laird, of Ard- 
tannies— " Mary Eerie Orie Elphinstone" — 178. His Family, Will and Inventory— 179. 
Ardtannies in Early Times — "The Merchants' Graves" — Ard Tonies — 180. Millers of 
Ardtannies, Knockinglews, and Aquhorties — 181. Contract of Multures, Inverurie, 1600 — 1S2. 

The Twall-Pairt Lands. — Cultivated Common Lands — 183. Pasture Common Lands — Haughs, 
Folds, and Crofts— 184. 

The Landward Parish. — Families in Badifurrow, Aquhorties, Knockinglews, Drimmies, Conglass, 
and Crol'thead, 1600-36— 1S6. 

Chapter VI. 

A Rural Scottish Burgh in 1600. — General Appearance of Inverurie— Occupations — 187. Regula- 
tions enforced as to Agriculture, Trade, Building, House-letting— Rude Manners — 1-88. 
Exercise of Magisterial Authority and Iniluence — 1S9. 

Burgh Incidents. — Rights of Pasturage — 189. Market Customs — Criminals Banished— Building 
Faulds— Restriction of Brewers — Watching — Protection of Crops — Election of Council — 190. 
Burgh Officials — Quality of Buildings — Inspection of Abuses— Ewe Buchts — Land Tax- 
Taking Order — Wapinschaw — Personal Armour — 191. Idlers— Mill-service — The Plague, 
1608— Trade Protection— Head Court' respecting Sunday — 192. Official Salary paid in 
Labour — The Leslies— House-letting— Fee of Town Herd — Arbitration of Blood— Pasturing 
Rules and Watching of Crop — 193. Constitution of Town Council— Marches with Crichie— 
Charters of the Burgh — Grass Season — King's Dues — Mode cf Municipal Resignation — 194. 
Mill Assessment— Fold — Ale-Tasters — Drunkard Restrained — Fee of Herd— Turfing — Offences 
and Punishments— 195. Malt Mill and Number of Brewers— Measures Testi'd— Unfreemen — 


Good Hours— The Sabbath — Church and State Discipline — Idlers Expelled — A Troublesome 
Family — 196. Thatching the Kirk — Interdicts — Last Sasine in favour of the Johnstons of 
Caskieben — A Burgh Feud — 197. An Armed Raid upon Crops — Mill-service — Use and Wont 
of Common Lands — 198. Right to Fines — Violence in a Tavern — Small Debt — The Sabbath, 
Head Court— New Weekly Market— 199. Herd's House— His Duties — Market Laws — Con- 
tempt of Magistrate— Quality of Houses — The Peat Road — The Burgh Feud— 200. Armed 
Town Clerk, Maladministration — Rival Councils — 201. Building the Mill — Assaults — Officer 
Deforced — Kirk Penalties — 203. A Baillie's Troubles and Honours — Large Council — Clerk 
Elected Yearly — The Mill Lade — Moss of Kemnay — 201. Dinging — Protection of Vintners — 
Quarrel with the City of Aberdeen — Domestic Strife — Temperance and Kirk-keeping— Redding 
of Marches — 205. Overbuilding — Right to Fines — The Fend Terminated. Dean of Guild — 
Thatching the Mill— 206. Foreign Claimant of Stonehouse, 1619 — Jury Inquest— Desecration 
of the Lord's Day — Marches with Blakhall — 207. 
Mr. Mill's Registers of Baptisms and Deaths. — The Minister's Collateral Entries — 207. Wills 
and Inventories — John Johnston of that Ilk— 208. William Blakhall of that Ilk— Prices— Pecu- 
liar Articles Bequeathed — 209. Deaths of Notable Persons — Speedy Burial — 210. Criminal 
Jurisdiction — Remarkable Deaths and Burials— 211. Nicknames — Upper Class Christenings — 
212. The Minister's Second Wife and Christenings — 213. Changes circa 1640 — The 
Local Aristocracy — 214. John Leslie, Tenth of Balquhain — Raid upon Aberdeen — Conjugal 
Sentiment — 215. The First Marquis of Huntly — Dunnibirsel — Banishment and Recall — John, 
Eleventh of Balquhain — Loss of Estates — Style of Landed Proprietors circa 1600 — 216. The 
last Leslie, Dominus Ejusdem, Served Heir to the Second Constable of Inverurie — Jame,i Leslie 
of Aquhorties — The Frendraught Quarrel— 217. 

Chapter VII. 

New Proprietors — Conditional Stability of Landed Property — 218. Old Ecclesiastical Estates — 219. 

Badiefurrow. — " Bonnie Patrick Leslie " of Kincraigie to Mr. James Ferguson, Advocate — 219. 

The First Baronet of Wardes. — Lost Prestige of the Barons— New Dignity of Knight Baronet of 
Scotland and Nova Scotia — Sir John Leslie — Wadset of the Wardes Lords — 220. John Leslie, 
second of Wardes — Leslies of Warthill — Alexander Leslie, third of Wardes — William Leslie, 
fourth of Wardes, called "William Cutt " — Wrongous Molestation of John of Balhaggardy — 
George Leslie of Crichie — John Leslie, fifth of Wardes — Sir John Leslie, first Baronet of Wardes 
— His Character and Misfortunes — 221. Sir John Leslie, second Baronet of Wardes — Sir 
William Leslie, third Baronet of Wardes — Norman Leslie — The Castle and House of Wardes — 
222. Office of Baillie of Regality— 2-23. 

Warthill. — Glaster to Leslie — Tillymorgan, Crvickshank— 223. 

The First Baronet of Caskieben. — John Johnston of that Ilk and Caskieben — His first and second 
Families— Katherine Lundy — 223. Lundy of that Ilk — Desendants of Stephen de Johnston — 
The Durwards — Christian Forbes, Lady Caskieben — Impoverishment of the Family — Sir George 
Johnston of that Ilk and Caskieben — 224. Claims of Earldom — Roll of Caskieben Properties 
wadset to Alexander Jaffray of Kingswells, 1633 — Service of Alexander Jaffray, younger, in 
1645 — Newplace and Synod of Aberdeen — 225. Johnston in Leslie— John Leith, Fiar of 
Montgarrie— 226. 

xvi Contents. 

Provost Alexander Jeffrat, Sen.— Lord Crimond -The Chamberley Croft— Principal Dun— 226. 
Provost Alexander Jaffray, jun. — His Early Years— His Two Marriages —227. 

Crichie. — Leslie of Wardes to Lord Elphinstone — 227. 

Blakhall of that Ilk— 227. Genealogy of Blakhall of that Ilk, Foresters and Coroners of the 
Garioeh— Blakhall of Little Folia— of Barra— 228. 

Bourtie.— Abernethie, Barclay, Seton— 229. Collihill Chaplains— 230. Collihill— Gilbert An- 
nand— 231 . 

Mounie.— Seton, Urquhart, Farquhar, Seton — 231. 

Aquhithie, Ardmurdo, Balbithan, Thainston, Lethinty, Fingask:, Mel-drum. — Barclay's 
Protocol — Templar Croft of Aquithie — Forbes and Barclay of Ardmurdo — Dalgarno of that Ilk 
— 231. Chalmers of Balbithan, 1490-1696— Fortieses of Tolquhon and Thainston — Urquhart 
of Craigfintray, Tutor of Cromarty, and the Heiress of Meldrum — Lethinty — The Fortieses of 
Pitsligo — 232. Fingask — Patrick Urquhart of Lethinty, Fingask, and Meldrum— Episcopal 
Chapter in 1615 — Charter of Old Meldrum — Church and Manse of Meldrum — 233. 

Kemnat. — Douglas of Glenbervie, Sir Thomas Crombie, Strachan of Glenkindie — 234. 

The Leiths. — Harthill, Edingarroch, and Licklyhead— 234. 

Abercrombt of Birkenbog. — Properties in the Garioeh, 1345-1690—234. 

Newton. — Gordon, Davidson— 235. 

Aquhorties. — Mortimers, &c., to Leslie of Balquhain — Barony of Craigievar and Fintray — 235. 

Forbes of Monymusk — 236. Pitsligo and Fettercairn — 237. 

Forbes of Leslie— 237. Leslie Castle— Leith-hall— 238. 

Wadsetters and Reversers in the Garioeh, 1633—238. 

Clerical Changes in the Garioch since 1600— Monkegy a Separate Parish — Kemnay, do. — 239. 
Lunan Pedigree — 240. Captain John Logie — Character of the Garioch Clergy — Provident 
Marriages — 241 . 

The Marquis of Huntly — Decline of Family Influence — Charles I. jealous — Sir George Johnston 
made Sheriff of Aberdeen in 1630 — James Crichton of Frendraught — 242. Antagonism to the 
Gordons — Burning of Frendraught — Decay of the Crichtons — Gift of Communion Silver- 
Viscount Crichton — Lady Frendraught —243. Morison of Bognie — 244. 

Social Features.— Drinking Habits— The Highland Chiefs— 244. Fairs in the Garioch— Lawrence 
Fair— Barbour and Winton — Exorbitant Market Customs in 1606 — 245. "Oh, Minnie, I'm 
gaen to Lowrin Fair " — Pushing Fortunes Abroad — Social Condition of Inverurie Burgesses — 
246. Baillie Alexander Hervie — Appearance of the Scottish Parliament— Election of Members 
for Aberdeenshire, 1616—248. 

Eve of the Covenant. — Aberdeenshire Recusant— Sensible Bishops — 248. The Aberdeen Doctors — 
Papist Houses — Father Blakhall— Prominent Families and Individuuls on both sides— Sir 
Thomas Crombie— Gordon of Newton— 249. Chalmers of Drimmies —Thomas Erskine of Pit- 
todrie — Robert Burnet of Crimond — 250. Colonel William Johnston — Sir Robert Farquhar of 
Mounie— 251. John Leith of Harthill— "The Mids o' Mar"— The Forbes Families all Cove- 
nanters— The Master of Forbes — 252. The Fintray Family — Sir William Forbes, first Baronet — 
General Urrie — Urrie of Pitfiehie Genealogy — 253. Chalmers Genealogy — 254. Apostles of the 
Covenant— Andrew Cant — Field-Marshal Leslie — 255. General King, Lord Ythan — 256. 

Burgh Lairds at the Time of the Covenant. — Contract of Teinds — 256. Owners of Eoods and 
Common Lands in 1633 — 257. Traces of Original Division of Lands— 259. First Minister of 
Monkegy— 260. 



The Solemn League and Covenant. — Resentment of the Titheholders at Charles I. — 261. Custom 
of forming Leagues — The King's Encroachments— Dread of English Episcopacy — Power of the 
Gordons broken — 262. The Second Marquis of Huntly made Lieutenant of the North— 263. 

First Appeal to Arms, a.d. 1639. — The Committee of Turriff— 263. Hostile Arrays — Aberdeen For- 
tified — Earl of Montrose and Marshal Leslie sent North— Fugitives from Aberdeen — Huntly's 
Forces and Arms— 264. Royalist Muster at Inverurie, 25th March— Covenanting Camp at 
Kintore — 265 — Parley at Blakhall — Huntly outwitted 5th April — First Pillage, Kemnay Girnal 
— New Apostles — 266. " Deer Sandys " — Temporary Submission of Catholic Lairds — Huntly a 
Prisoner — Lord Aboyne Intercepted at Parcock and forced to Head the Royalists — Vacillation 
of Covenanting Chiefs — 267. Aboyne Deserts — Covenanters resolve to Meet at Turriff on 20th 
May— Crowner Johnston— 268. The "Trot of Turriff "—The Local Chiefs of the Two Parties 
— Alarm of Aberdeen — Forbeses go there to Submit — 269. Plundering — Royalists Disband 
expecting Peace, and being attacked Escape to the King — Their Return— 270. 

Lord Aboyne as King's Lieutenant. —Battle of the Bridge of Dee— Death of John Seton of 
Bourtie, and of Pittodrie's Brother — Crowner Gunu Denounced as a Traitor by Colonel Johnston 
— Escape of Lord Aboyne and Royalist Leaders to the King at Berwick — Pacification — Huntly 
and his Daughters— 271. Preparations for Conflict, a.d. 1640 — Covenanters Tax the Country — 
Earl Marshal and the Forbeses Quarrel over the Division of the Work — Kemnay Girnal Emptied 
— Attack upon Fetternear House Repulsed — 272. Balbithan, Hedderwick, Lethinty, and 
Newton Plundered — Five Garioch Ministers marched to Aberdeen as Prisoners — Gordon of 
Haddo Fined by Earl Marischal — Minister of Rayne Deposed — 273. 

The Earl of Argyll Head of the Executive — Burns the House of Airly and Plunders Athol and 
Lochaber — 273. Argyll's Maxims — Portraits in Inverary Castle— The Dhu Loch Avenue — Rata 
of Military Assessment in 1640 — Quarrels over the Collection — Earl Marischal and the Master 
of Forbes — Disbanding of the Forbeses — League of Covenanting Chiefs against Argyll— 274. 
Covenant Supreme in the Garioch in 1641 — Lethinty and Haddo Fined — The Fraser Regiment 
— Mr. Robert Farquhar — Leith of Hartill — Personal Encounters — The Craibstane — 275. Aber- 
deen Crofts — Parliament, 1641 — Pacification, Honors, and Grants — Andrew Cant brought to 
Aberdeen — John Row — Dr. John Forbes, Professor of Divinity, Deposed — 276. Garioch Can- 
didates for the Chair — Reredos of Cathedral of Aberdeen cut up to make a Gallery, 1641 — 
Schoolboys Celebrating Christmas, 1642, in Old Aberdeen, in Defiance — John Keith, future 
Earl of Kintore — Andrew Cant Introduces Presbyterian Form of Communion Service — 277. 
Covenanters Disappointed by the Parliament of England — Rise of Independents to Power in the 
English Army— General King brings Treasure and Officers to the King from Denmark — Portents 
of War— Defections — Huntly at Aberdeen with a Declaration by the King, emitted April, 1643 
— The Laird of Braco's Funeral — Lord Gordon, Earl Marischal, Lord Forbes, and Viscount 
Crichton at Strife over the Apportionment of Aberdeenshire — 278. 

The Marquis of Huntly in Arms at Kintore, 26th March, 1644— His Supporters — Covenanting 
Lairds Secret their Girnals and Property — Plundering, 286. Exploits — Abduction of Aberdeen 
Magistrates — Muster of 2500 Royalists at Inverurie, 11th April — " Umquhil William Fergus 
his House" — Boastful March to Aberdeen— 280. Retreat — At Inverurie on 17th April — Deser- 
tion and Flight Home before the Approach of the Covenanting Army^Argyll at Inverurie in 
Pursuit, 4th May — Attacks Kelly, and takes Sir John Gordon of Haddo and Captain John 
Logie Prisoners— Proclamation as Commander-in-Chief for a Muster of the County at Turriff on 


xviii Contents. 

17th May — The Moderators of Presbyteries to give up Lists of Heritors and Freeholders 
— 281. Huntly Escapes with his Treasure Chest to Caithness — Argyll and Lord Gordon leave 
Inverurie in Pursuit, 4th June — 282. 

The Marquis or Montrose — For the King — Descent from Athol— Battle of Aberdeen, 13th September, 
1644 — March Ordered to the Garioch, 14th September— The Irishes — Royalist Camp from 
Kintore to Licklyhead — Argyll starts from Brechin slowly in Pursuit — 282. Montrose leaves 
Inverurie for the Spey on Monday, 18th September — Encamps in the Wood of Abernethy — 
Argyll Deserted at Aberdeen by the Covenanting Lords — Montrose makes a Rapid Circuit 
through Badenoch to Forfarshire and back to Aberdeen — Escapes between the Forces of Argyll 
and Marischal to cross the Dee at Crathes — Visits the Covenanting Houses of Crathes, Echt, 
Pittodrie, and Frendraught, reaching Strathbogie in October — Argyll's Officers Quarrel about 
Commands — 283. He Crosses the Garioch in Pursuit — Skirmish in the Woods of Fy vie — Montrose 
Retires in Triumph — Flight of Argyll at Inverlochy, Candlemas Day, 1645 — Young Harthill 
and Craigievar's Troopers at Inverurie, 23rd February, 1645 — Craigievar's Recompense -284. 
Montrose comes from Elgin — Musters the Shire at Inverurie, 16th March— Lodges with the 
Minister of Kintore — The Covenanters under General Urrie— The Lady of Lethinty— Sir 
William Forties's Booty at Kemnay, Newton, and Harthill — 285. Accessions to the King's 
Standard — Battles of Auldearn, Alford, and Kilsyth — Philiphaugh, September, 1645 — General 
David Leslie — Montrose Escapes to Norway — 286. Marquis of Huntly with Lord Gordon 
Rise for the King, January, 1646 — Muster at Inverurie and Kintore. — Seize Aberdeen —Ordered 
by the King, now a Prisoner, to lay down his Anns — Escapes to Strathnaven — Is Sold to the 
Covenanters — Beheaded in March, 1649—287. 

Incidents of the Troubles. — Abduction of Aberdeen Magistrates — 287. Alexander Jaffray's Diary 
— Jaffray and Cant in Pitcaple Castle — 288. Mr. Samuel Walcar— 289. Capture of Wardes 
Castle — Mr. Andrew Cant and Provost Robert Farquhar— 290. Cant on Portraits — 291. 

Inverurie During the Troubles. — Principal Residents and Neighbours — 291. Lime's Dragoons — 
Assessment— Burgh Heritors— 292. Mr. William Forbes, Minister — 293. Baillie George 
Leslie— The School Decayed— 294. The Plague in 1647— Watching of Town and Fords- 
King's College at Fraserburgh — The Engagement, 1658 — 295. 

Time of the King's Death — 295. Silence of Local Records — Residence Enforced— Kemnay Moss 
Tack— General Disorder — 296. Correspondence with Prince Charles— Last Attempt of the 
Marquis of Montrose — Betrayed and led Prisoner to Edinburgh — Montrose at Pitcaple Castle- 
Charles II. at Pitcaple— 297. Alexander Jaffray— William Earl Marischal— 298. 

Chapter IX. 

Mr. Andrew Cant.— Renewal of the Covenant— 299. 

General Government. — Malignancy — Excommunications— 301. Controversial Prints — Gordon of 
Newton — Kirk Repairs — The Engagement — Kinkell Dissolved— 302. Inverurie School and 
Kirk — Lairds of Fetternear and Blair — Signing of the Covenant — 303. Presbyterial Visitation 
of Parishes — National Fast — Lairds Submitting— 304. The Catechism — Charming — Property 
of Defuncts— Ministers Deposed — Troublesome Lairds — Mr. John Middleton of Rayne — 305. 
Lairds of Caskieben and Balbithan — Case of Witchcraft — 306. Lairds Submitting — Extreme 
Crimes — 307. Row's History — Marischal College " Economie " — Clerical Apparel — Communion 
Wine "mixed" — No Bible at Culsalmond— Troops Raised for Charles II., 1650 — Intercourse 
with Excommunicated Persons— Army Chaplains Starving — 308. Leslie and Premnay — 
Excommunicats — Annexation to Daviot — Synodical Visitations— Pressure of Cromwell — Steel- 

Contents. xix 

hand and Harthill— Mr. Tailifer of Daviot— 309. National Sins— Influence of Cromwell's 
Successes — Rectification of Parish Boundaries — Newton — Minister of Kemnay Deserting his 
Charge— 310. Ruling Elders in 1653 — Fetternear — Visitation of Inverurie — Papists in the 
Garioch in 1655 — Eights of Parishioners — 311. Discipline over Ministers — 312. Discipline of 
Parishes— Platform — 313. Provision for Paupers— Swearing to the Covenant — Cases for Dis- 
cipline — Sacramental Services in 1650 — 315. Sabbath-breaking — Dogs in Church — Knowledge 
Qualification — Alehouse Laws — The Church Catalogue— The Marquis of Montrose — Defaming a 
Minister — Absence from Church— 316. Breach with England — Third Marquis of Huntly— 
Cromwell's Independents — Elders of Inverurie— 317. Qualification of Elders — Public Causes 
of Anxiety — Discipline needed in Inverurie — 318. Excommunication of the Goodwife of Con- 
glass for Popery— Insubordination — 319. Care of the Poor — Miscellaneous Objects of Church 
Collections — Avoidance of " Public Burdens " by Heritors — 320. State of Inverurie Kirk in 
1649—321. Pews Erected— 322. 
The School of Inverurie under the Covenant and Second Episcopacy.— School Ordered to be 
Planted, 1649— Salary Subscribed— Schoolmaster Elected for "one Quarter" — 322. Mr. 
Alexander Mitchell — The Electing Body — "Honest Men" — George Robertson— Failure of 
Salary— 323. Mart' Hay, Schoolmistress— Mr. Arthur Forbes— Mr. John Walker— Mr. 
William Chalmer — Security of Salary — 324. Canonical Obedience — Presbyterial Supervision 
— Schoolmasters Masters of Arts — 325. Garioch Schoolmasters (1661-1668) — Quality of 
Schoolhouses — 326. 

Chapter X. 


Changes in Garioch Families. — Alexander Jaffray at Ardtannies— Third Marquis of Huntly— 
327- Caskieben and Moukegy become Keith-hall— Sir Alexander Forbes of Tolquhon— Aber- 
cromby of Blakhall— 328. Transferences of Land (1668-16S4)-329. Alexander Leslie of Tullos 
— Balquhain — Elphinstone of Meikle Warthill — 330. 

Religious Reaction.— Extent of the Reformation in Scotland — The Thirty Years' War — The 
Scottish Church and the Stuart Kings — Papacy in Concealment— 330. New Sects — Competing 
Tyrannies — Society Demoralised— Sunday— 331. 

Charles II. 's Episcopacy. — Scotch and English Episcopacies — Position of Bishop in the Scottish 
Church — Form of Worship— Successive Prayer Books — 332. Reason of Opposition to Laud's 
Service Book — The Readers — 333. Episcopal Synod of Aberdeen in 1662 — Purging the Church 
— Political Character of the New Episcopacy— 334. Jacobitism — Changes Attempted— The Four 
Bishops of Aberdeen— Daily Prayers— 335. Proposed Ritual — Dr. Willox of Kemnay— 336. 

State of Society after 1600. — Principal Record— Harsh Discipline — 336. Licentiousness— Dis- 
regard of Sabbath— Lax Ministers— Public Works and Charities— 337. 

Parochial Incidents.— Testimonials — St. Bryde's Kirk, Kemnay— Sunday Games— The Jongs — 
Hours of Worship— Churchyard Patrols— Taverns Visited— Polonian Students— Stipends Taxed 
for help to Universities— The Plague in London, 1665— Minister Assaulted in Church— Collec- 
tions for Bridge of Dee — School of Banchory and Harbours of Inverkeithing and Kilburnie — 
338. Bleaching on Sunday — Conventicles — Apostacies — Catechisings — Collections for Dundee 
Harbour, Bridges of Don, Ythan, and Gadie, and Fire at Kilmarnock — Registers of Deaths— Clip 
for Dogs at Church— Holy wells— Fall of the Church of Oyne— Child Offered to the Grave— 339. 
Fairies — Visitation by Privy Council anent Quakers, &c. — Abuses at Public Marriages— Papist 
Plot— "Lifted to be Elders "—Collections for Grecian Priests, Slaves to the Turks, Bridge at 
Inverness, and Harbour at Portsoy — Bridge over Tone — Accidental Breach of Sabbath — 340. 


Quakerism. — Garioch Perverts — Alexander Jaffray, James Urquhart, Dr. William Johnston's Widow 
— Quakers Imprisoned at Inverurie — Monkegy — " Insolence of Quakers" — 341. Minister of 
Inverurie's Daughter — Bishop Scougal — 342. 

Heritors and the Church. — Origin of Public Burdens — 342. 

The Kirk of Inverurie in 1660. — Sundial — 343. The Kirk Thatched and Propped — Repaired or 
Rebuilt, 1668 — 344. Arrangement of Pews — Heritors in Inverurie in 1669 — The Manse— 346. 

Kemnay, Oyne, and Monymusk. — Communion Elements— Table Cloths, &c — Kirkbell — School 
built in a day — Churchyard Dykes — 347. Kirk of Monymusk Re-seated — Seats Let— 348. 

The Burgh of Inverurie at the Restoration.— Thanksgiving Interrupted by a Spate in the Don 
— New Tolbooth — 349. Inverurie Enrolled in the Convention of Burghs — Jurisdiction Claimed 
— The Regality Courts — John Earl of Mar — Transfer of Caskieben Lands — 350. Law Borrows 
— Sir John Keith — 351. Baillies John Johnston and William Ferguson — Marches of Town's 
Lands next Sir John Keith's — Kemnay Moss Rented — Public Taxes— Fishings on the Don — 
Proposed Purchase of the Davo Lands — 352. 

The Fergusons of Inverurie. — A Geneology Vouched by the Town Council of Edinburgh — 353. 
" Umquhill William Ferguson" — 354. William Ferguson in Crichie — His Six Sons— 355. 
Openings for Scottish Youths — The Mackies of Midtown — Later Life of Alexander Jaffray — 
357. Mr. William Forbes and Mr. William Murray, Ministers of Inverurie — 358. Population 
of Inverurie and Individual Residents — 360. Burgh Incidents — Assaults — Ale-tasters — Com- 
pensation for Manure — Deacon of the Shoemakers — Members of Parliament for the Burgh — 361. 
The Market Cross — Pay and Dress of Militiamen — 362. Protection of Artizans — Municipal 
Franchise — Peat-stacks and Middens — Breach of Prison — Capital Sentence — Town Council of 
1677 — 363. Importance of Royal Burghs — Honorary Burgesses — Hotel Charges in 1680 — 364. 

The Earldom of Kintore. — Connections between the Families of Johnston and Keith — 365. The 
Johnstons of Caskieben in the end of the 17th Century — Creation of the Earldom — 386. The 
Rescue of the Regalia — Mrs. Ogilvie and Mrs. Grainger — Crown Room in the Manse of Kinneff 
—Sir John Keith— 367. The Ogilvies of Barras— House of Keith-hill— 368. Gallowhill of 
Caskieben— 369. 

Chapter XI. 


Political Discontent— 370. Tests Imposed— Executions— 371. The Monmouth Rebellion— Pro- 
clamatians— The Earl of Argyll— 372. Sir John Johnston of Caskieben— Ferguson the Plotter 
— 374. Brigadier General Ferguson— 376. Parliamentary Election in Aberdeenshire, 1685 — 
Sir George Nicolson— His Descendants— 377. Religious Customs— Seedtime and Harvest 
Festivals— Communion Services in 1686 — 378. 

Birth of the Pretender.— Proclamation— 379. " The Late King James "—380. 

The Temper of the Times.— Insubordination of Kemnay Parishioners— Neglect of Christmas— 380. 
Monymusk Bells and Clock — 381. 

Social Condition of the Garioch— 381. The Poll Lists— Gradation of Poll Tax— Oldmeldrum in 
1696— Artizans and Merchants— 382. Meat Trade in the Garioch— Scarcity in 1696— Insch in 
1696— Artizans— Terms of Tavern Leases— Uses of Peat— Inverurie in 1696— Artizans and 
Merchants— Servants' Wages— 383. Mr. George Scott, Town Clerk— Dr. James Milne, 
Physician— Baillie John Ferguson— Lairds and Tenents in Inverurie Parish, 1696—384. Esta- 
blishments of the Earl of Kintore and Lord Inverurie— Garioch Ministers and Schoolmasters- - 
The Watson Bursaries— 385. The Lunans— 386. 

Contents. xxi 

Garioch Families. — Changein Social Distinctions — The Legal Profession — 387. New Proprietors — 389. 

The Burgh Lairds of Inverurie. — Upper Roods — 389. Lower Roods — 394. The Ballgreen and 
School— 398. 

Fetternear. — Residence of the Lairds of Balquhain — 398. 

Count Leslie. — Count Walter— Death of Wallenstein — 399. Count James — Siege of Vienna — 
Liberation of Hungary — 400. 

Leith-iiall — 400. Formation of Estate — Family — 400. 

Freefield. — Formation of Estate — Family — 401. 

Keith-hall. — The two lines of Earls of Kintore — 402. Silver Plate of last Earl Marischal at Keith- 
hall— The First Countess of Kintore— 403. The Lady of Leslie— 404. 

Monymusk. — Sir Archibald Grant — Paradise — Pitfichie — "Gentle Jean o' Keith-hall" — 404. Sir 
William Forbes, last of Monymusk — Forbes of Pitsligo — 405. 

Badifurrow and Woodhill. — Fergusons — 405. Forbes of Badifurrow — 406. Incidents of the '45 
in Inverurie — 407. Johnston of Badifurrow — Fraser of Woodhill — Gordon of Manar — 410. 

Warthill— 410. William Leslie, Bishop of Layback— Little Folia— 411. Meikle Warthill— 
Elphinstones — 412. 

Glack. — Elphinstone of Glack — 412. 

Logie-Elphinstone — 413. Elphinstones of Logie-Elphinstone — 414. 

Westhall. — Abercromby — Gordon — Campbell — Horn — Elphinstone — Leith — 415. 

Castle Fraser. — House — Lord Fraser — Inverallochy — 416. 

Balbith an. — Chalmers — Forbes — Gordon — 41 6. 

Inveramsat. — Smith — Charles Hacket — 417. 

Pitc aple. — Leslie — Lumsden — 41 7. 

Newplace — Johnston — Burnet — Synod of Aberdeen — 417. 

Pittodrie — Erskines of Pittodrie — 418. 

Bourtie. — Blair — Seton — Stewart — Leith — 418. Auld Bourtie — Seton — Reid — Anderson — Duguid— 
Barra — Seton — Reid — Kamsay — 419. 

Kemnay.— House— Burnett of Crathes — 420. Thomas Burnett, 2nd of Kemnay, in the Bastile — 
Betty Brickenden — Beau Brickenden — George Burnett, Provost of Inverurie — 421. Kemnay 
Avenue — Secretary Burnett — Sir Andrew Mitchell of Thornton — 422. 

Religious Disabilities. — Popery taking Courage — Bishop Nicolson, Vicar Apostolic — 422. 
Number of Roman Catholics in Scotland— Tactics of the Episcopalian Incumbents— Trafficking 
Priests — Difficulties as to Baptism and Marriage — Wedding at Barra, 1710—423. School- 
masters and the Confession of Faith— School Work about 1700—424. 

Introduction of Presbyterian Ministers.— Designs of the Court— Mr. William Cairstairs— Indul- 
gence of Episcopalian Incumbents— 425. Roll of the Synod of Aberdeen in 1697—426. 

The Settlement of Kemnay— 426. Leets— Delays— Mr. William Lesly Inducted— 428. 

The Settlement of Meldrum.— Jus Devolutum— Communing with the Laird— Mr. John Mulligan 
Inducted — 428. 

The Settlement of Lesly— Elders Chosen— Call under threat of Jus Devolutum— Mr. William 
Forbes Inducted — 429. 

The Settlement at Insch.— An Intruder in Possession— 429. Parishioners Qualified to be Elders- 
Heritors and Heads of Families give a Call— Mr. John Maitland Inducted— 430. 

The Settlement at Rayne.— Lairds Employ a Nonjuring Episcopalian— 430. Presbytery Resisted 
—Officers Deforced— Lord Advocate Interposes— 431. Access to the Kirk by Stratagem— Mr. 
Walter Turing Inducted— 432. 


Keith. — Marischals of Scotland, 435— Earls Marischal, 437 — Earls of Kintore, 439. 

Leslie. — The Original Family, 440 — Leslie of that Ilk — Leslie of Balquhain, 441 — Leslie of Wardes, 
444— Baronets of Wardes, 445— Leslie of Warthill, 446— Leslie of Little Folia, 447. 

Johnston of that Ilk and Caskieben. — De Garviach — Johnston, 448 — Baronets of Caskieben, 450. 

Leith.— Leith of Leithhall, 458— Leith of Freefield, 460-Leith of Overhall, 460— Leith of Harthill, 
461— Leith of Treefield, 462— Leith of Bucharne, 462. 

Seton, 463. — Seton of Meldrum, 464 — Seton of Mounie, First Line, 465 — Second Line, 465 — Seton 
of Blair, 466 — Seton of Bourtie, now of Pitraedden, 466. 

Urquhart of Meldrum, 468— Urquhart of Cromarty, 469. 

Elphinstone of Glaok, 470 — Elphinstone of Logie-Elphinstone, Baronets, First Line, 471 — Second 
Line, 472. 

Erskine of Pittodrie, 473. 

Fergusons of Inverurie, 474 — Descendants of William Ferguson in Crichie, 475 — I. Robert Fergu- 
son, the Plotter, 475 — II. William Ferguson of Badifurrow, — Ferguson of Pitfour, 475 — 
James Ferguson, M.P., Election Song, 1786, 476 — III. James Ferguson — Ferguson of Kin- 
mundy, 478 — IV. George Ferguson, Chamberlain to Meldrum — Jopp Family, 479— Beattie 
Family, 480 — V. John Ferguson of Stonehouse, 480 — VI. Walter Ferguson of Inverurie, 480 — 
Walter Ferguson, W.S., 481— Lock Family — Fergusou-Tepper Family — Scott Family, 483— 
VII. Janet Ferguson — Fergusons of Warsaw — Hutcheson Family — Bruce Family — Fergusons of 
Edinburgh, 484. 

Burnett of Kemnay, Burnett of Leys — Burnett of Craigmyle — Burnett of Kemnay, 485. 

Addendum to " Drimmies." — Marches of Drimmies and Conglass in 1569, 487. 

Note to " Elphinstone of Logie-Elphinstone," 488. 



line 35, for occesus 





34, „ 






31, dele, nephew of Baliol. 



25, for Norino 

read Norman. 



14, „ 






22, „ 


i , 




29, „ 


) » 




29, dele Sir. 



19, for Gordon 

read Stewart. 



11, dele then snbj 


of Monymusk. 



31, for William 

read John. 



27, „ 






30, „ 






2, „ 






14, „ 






52, „ 






20, „ 






21, „ 






4, ,, 


1 1 




36, ,, 






2, „ 






20, „ 






27, „ 






19, „ 






30, „ 






40, „ 






9, ,, 






36, „ 






22, „ 






21, „ 






22, „ 






31, „ 






28, „ 





Primitive Inhabitation. — The Bass — The Stanners — Dunnideer — Ardtannies — Remains of Stone 
period — Broomend — Cists, urns, cairns, tumuli. Ancient Highways. — From fords of Don to 
Dunnideei — Stone circles and Sculptured monoliths — Double road from Broomend to Drimmies ; 
by Corseman hill and Blackhall, with branch ascending the Don — By Stanners and Inverurie 
Roods, Stoncfield and Kelpyfold, with branch to Caskiebm, and east side of Ury — Garioch 
highways farther north — Powtate and roads to Old Meldrum and Howford — The Roman Iter. 


T a point about six miles south-east from the summit of Benachie, one of 
the extremities of the Grampians, the rivers Don and Ury descend, through 
valleys "which meet at right angles, to a marshy hollow where their waters 
are only 120 yards apart, when they are again deflected, and their junction 
removed a good way southward, by an abrupt mound, seemingly composed 
of shingle, but coated with vegetable soil, from which a triangular field, of 
about 40 acres in area, slopes between the two streams. 

The mound and field are the Bass and Stanners of Inverurie ; and these, from 
their position and apparent structure, may be a memorial of the glacial period. It is 
evident from the strive found upon rock surfaces, that the course of the ice-slip was 
from Benachie to the North Sea at Belhelvie. The local meltings of the glacier left a 
string of moraines along the Don, in the parish of Kemnay, where the line of railway 
now is — the Kaims of Kemnay. A mound, called the Cuninghill, exactly resembling 
these, stands southward of the Manse of Inverurie, at the edge of a sandy terrace, 
named the Kellands, where the slope of the alluvial Eoods begins. The glacial mass, 
obstructed a little below that point by the narrow hollow in which Don and Ury meet, 
would deposit most of its sandy burden at the point where the streams would together 
wash its edge. That point is where the Bass now stands ; and the slow liquidation 
might naturally deposit the more diffused haugh stretching onwards from the Bass, 
which, from its stony character, bears the name of the Stanners. 

Among the oracular rhymes attributed to Thomas of Ercildoune, one foretells that 

Dee and Don shall run in one, 

And Tweed shall run in Tay, 
And the bonny water o' Ury 

Shall bear the Bass away. 

Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

The lofty flat-topped cone of the Bass, flanked on the east side by a lower mound of 
oblong form, rises upon the broad northern extremity of the river peninsula from the 
very water's edge of the Ury, barely admitting of foothold between. 

The starting point of any historical description of Inverurie must be here, where 
both the earliest annals and remains of a pre-historic period place the associations of 
primitive inhabitation. A central portion of the Stanners left uncultivated for centuries 
of Christian times under the name of the Goodman's Croft — a sort of Devil's Acre — 
forms a record of the ancient times of heathen worship, and of how ineradicable the 
customs of superstitious observation were here as in other parts of the Christianized 

The highway of travel must at all times have passed the Don and the TJry, at a 
point where the Bass commanded the passages. There the Bomans must have forded 
the Don on their northern expedition, as the contingent of the poor Chevalier's army 
did when it surprised and routed the Macleods. 

The Bass probably was the fortress of Inverurie, the prison and death-chamber of 
the unfortunate monarch Eth, when Cyric, or Grig, having defeated him in battle at 
Strathallan, in Angus, a.d. 878, brought him to the fortress of Nrurin, near his own 
castle of Dunnideer. 

Three centuries later, before 1176, the Bass contained the Castle of Inverurie, the 
chief seat of the royal earldom of the Garioch. Malcolm, the son of Bartolf, held it 
as Constable for his friend David, Earl of Huntingdon and the Garioch, from whose 
daughter the royal houses of Bruce and Stewart, and the reigning dynasty of Great 
Britain, all descend. Erom the Castle of Inverurie, Malcolm may have sent his son 
and namesake in David's train to the crusade with Eichard Cceur de Lion, from which 
young Malcolm never returned. In the next century, Malcolm's other son, Norman, 
the Constable of Enrowrie, may have issued from the wide castle limits of the Stanners 
in all the pomp of the then novel decorations of heraldry, bearing on his shield the 
Leslie griffin and buckles, and the motto, " Grip fast". 

From the time now mentioned, the Bass does not appear in history, but it is found 
recorded in deeds respecting the burgh lands of Inverurie, in which the nomenclature 
of lands in the Stanners is of antiquarian interest, as containing such monuments of 
the social condition of early centuries there, as the names of the Castle Park, the 
Castle Croft, the Mill Butts, &c. 

It was at Ardtannies that Alexander Stewart, the grand, though in no sense 
legitimate, Earl of Mar, Lord or Earl of the Garioch, Lord of Duffle in Brabant, High 
Admiral of Scotland, and the hero of Harlaw, held his head courts — described as held 
at his Manor of Inverurie — but in all likelihood the Bass was, along with the Manor, 
the rendezvous of his army before Harlaw ; and there his local following may have been 
joined by Irvine of Drum, and Bobert Davidson, his close friend, the Provost of Aber- 
deen, with his bold burghers, on the celebrated 24th July, 1411, when they marched 


to check the advance of Donald of the Isles in the sanguinary battle in which the 
gallant Balquhain, himself of the ancient blood of the Inverurie Constables, lost six sons. 

Lying in a direct line between the Bass and Benachie, the whole parish is one pro- 
longed sharply undulating ascent, rising from the level of the boundar}' rivers, Don and 
TJry, by terraces, from which ascend rounded hills, to its highest altitude of 780 feet, 
the summit of Knockinglews. Looking from the meeting of the waters, the Davo hill, 
523 feet in height, and Knockinglews, seem two great stepping 'stones up to Benachie. 
Badifurrow and "Woodhill, standing west of the Davo and 60 feet higher than it, inter- 
vene between the Don and Knockinglews, while north of the Davo a lower hill, the 
Dilly-hill of Conglass, rises from the Ury towards the same central ridge. 

The contemporaneous fortresses of Nrurin and Dunnideer, commanding the south 
and north entrances to the inclosed strath, called the Garioch, must have been among 
its earliest habitations — strongholds being the first necessity of settled life. But the 
secluded river hollow of Ardtannies had been a place of important habitation even in 
the unknown times now spoken of as the Stone Period. 

A hundred yards or little more west of the spot marked on the ordnance map 
as the site of the Hall, a knoll previously uncultivated was turned up shortly before 
1870, and appeared to have been the site of a manufactory of flint arrow heads. A 
mass of chips lay about, and fire had evidently been used in the process, a space of 
twenty feet, or thereby, in breadth being full of burnt stones. The black spot remains 
apparent whenever the ground is under the plough. A deep draw-well at the Hall, 
which was closed during the same improvements, was found to be a great pit, whose 
sides presented the same burnt material. On the bank of the Don, a hundred yards 
from the place of the flints, a sharp stone axe of laminated appearance was found in 
January, 1874. 

About a thousand feet north from the Hall, upon a platform of the hill-side above 
the flinty spot, there were cleared out three circular structures, the places of which are 
marked in the ordnance map. The largest had a width of 60 feet within its circum- 
ference, which was a mound of stones, about three feet in height. A fine limestone 
axe was found inside. Across the interior, a little from the centre, was a straight 
trench, about 18 inches deep, full of ashes. A circular enclosure, like the others in 
appearance, remains in the wood at some distance eastward, near which had been 
another. One of them is marked in the ordnance map. 

In front of these last-named circles, which were fourteen yards in diameter, was 
a strong rampart. It was a curve of 120 yards in span, having ten feet of base and 
six of height, commanding the face of the Corseman hill down to the Don. Outside 
of that rampart some long barrows, on being dug up, were found full of fatty mould, 
over which luxuriant crops afterwards grew. 

Near the circle first mentioned there were several small cairns of stones never 
larger than six inches, which covered earth of the same fatty character. In January, 1874, 

Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

a drain having to be dug close by that spot, was found to intersect a mass of dark 
matter about nine feet broad, in which were fragments of bone, from an inch to two 
inches long, one showing the edge of a joint. 

Close by the sixty foot circle a careful artistic structure appeared in the small circle 
marked eastward of it. It was in the form of a saucer, nine feet wide and about one 
in depth, the circumference being of triangular stones dovetailed together so firmly, 
that the ordinary tramp pick was not sufficient to unsettle the fixture. They were 
bedded in finely wrought tough clay ; and the bottom of the saucer was of small 
pebbles closely packed in the same material, making a water-tight basin. 

Near by these stood upon four props a great stone, ten feet in length by five in 
breadth and four deep, shaped like a fishing cobble, having a broad end and a narrower 
point. The pillars kept it quite clear of the ground, so that it had formed a good hiding 
place for rabbits. The erection stood on a prepared base — a fiat space neatly cause- 
wayed with pebbles, oval in form, and about the same length as the table, but wider. 

The platform on the shoulder of the brae above Ardtannies, on which these artistic 
works were found, is at a level considerably lower than the point of the Corseman hill, 
about four hundred yards eastward, upon which the curved rampart and the long 
barrows were. In the wood behind which crowns the hill there are numerous round, 
or long mounds, suggestive of a sepulchral character. 

Evidence exists of the district of the Garioch having been inhabited very early. 
The remains of two British camps occupy sites near Inverurie on the hills of Crichie and 
Barra. Both stone circles and sculptured monoliths are frequent, and seem to have 
stood upon lines of primitive highway. At the beginning of the present century about 
thirty stone circles continued traceable. Six were to be seen close by Dunnideer, and 
four more in the same parish, some of which were from fifty to sixty feet in diameter, 
and contained stones measuring twelve feet in height. The remains of a double circle 
are in the woods of Mounie, five miles from Inverurie ; and, within the parish of In- 
verurie, a circle still entire looks over an extensive range of country from the centre 
of a highway on the heights of Achorthies. Another had its site where, at the 
place now called Stonefield, the oldest known highway crossed the boundary of the 
burgh near Brandsbutt, and several stood along the same road as it led southward 
through the parish of Kintore. 

The mysterious sculptured stones abound in the district. One stood at the point 
where probably the Bomans forded the Don on their northward expedition. Others had 
their places along the highway, which passed from that point to the famous Maiden 
Stone on the slope of Benachie. The Newton Stone, well known to antiquaries, is in 
an adjacent parish. 

Another evidence of very early habitation was obtained in 1867 by the discovery 
at Broomend — about a mile and a-half south from Inverurie — of a number of stone 
coffins, close by one another. The edges of the slabs were neatly closed with fine clay, 


which was still plastic when first removed ; but the cists contained no ornaments or 
fictile productions, except urns of unbaked clay ornamented in simple patterns. One, at 
the opening of which the writer was present, contained indications of the tenant having 
been a person of importance. A well-formed shell lamp of leather was suspended inside 
the urn by a broad curved shank. The body had also been wrapt in some thick 
envelope, which, in decay, looked like felt. Such a wrapping is believed to have 
been all but unexampled. 

Eemains of the same kind of sepulture have been dug up all along the Don, from 
Broomend to Badifurrow above Polnar chapel. On the Davo a cairn covering a cist 
was, until late years, the culminating point of the hill. The rising grounds, encircling 
Ardtannies, have yielded numerous urns to the excavations made in the course of 
agricultural improvement. Eight were dug up in a small area near the summit of the 
Davo; others near where the priest of Polnar dwelt, and at Waterside of Manar, on the 
hill of Crichie, and at several places on the road from Broomend to the Greenley ford of 
the Don. Solitary cairns were lately frequent in the district, and also some clusters, or 
rather fields, of such memorial structures are noticed in an antiquarian manuscript, 
written about 1790. 


The fortress of Inverurie stood on the spot which commanded the fordable points 
of the rivers Don and Urie, where the Don opened a way through a long hilly region 
from the upper districts, and where also any southern invaders were most likely to seek a 
road into the Garioch. In historic times, the castle of the " Warderys " remained in a 
ruinous condition on the north-western entrance to the Garioch, immediately beyond 
Dunnideer. The earliest highway through the Garioch, it is therefore probable, passed 
near these strongholds. But in any district the fordable passages of the rivers determine 
the lines of road first in use, and for this reason, it is probable that the earliest highway 
known to modern times through the hollow occupied by Inverurie, was also the primitive 
track used by the Picts, and by their predecessors — the men who used the mode of 
burial so curiously exemplified in the cist dug up at Broomend in 1867, and who left 
behind them the debris of a workshop of flint arrowheads at Ardtannies. 

The probability that the earliest known road from the south to Inverurie was that 
still traceable from Tyrebagger by the hill of Kintore, Dalwearie, Castlehill of Kintore, 
and Broomend, to the south west corner of the Stanners opposite Port-Elphinstone, is 
much enhanced by the fact that along that line of road there stood a close succession of 
stone circles and monoliths, including some sculptured stones. The Standing Stones of 
Dyce, several circles and monoliths between Kintore and Inverurie, sculptured stones at 
the ford of the Don, and at Brandsbutt, and near Drinimies, and the famous Maiden 

Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Stone of Benachie, all stood upon the line of the road leading directly from the south to 

Half-a-rnile south of the Greenley ford to the Stanners stand the remains of a stone 
circle upon the lands of Broomend, around which the road from the south forked, one 
branch taking the east side to the Greenley ford, the other passing on the west, and 
going by the rising ground above Port-Elphinstone, past Windyedge to the Broadford 
at Overboat. Those diverging paths traversed the length of the Parish of Inverurie 
apart, and united again at the highest point of the lands of Drimmies. 

The western branch ascended the Corseman Hill from the Broadford in a straight 
line till near the summit of the south shoulder of the Davo, and then struck north-west, 
attaining its greatest elevation at the site of the present farm-houses of Davo, close by 
which the "Merchants' Graves" mark the spot where, according to tradition, two pack- 
men, encountering on the road, fought and killed one another. So far the road is nearly 
all still in use, or traceable. On the height it passed westward, until opposite Blackball, 
where it descended by Gavin's Croft to the manor place of Blackhall, and passing 
Dubston, continued by the route presently in use to the meeting-point of Conglass, 
Drimmies, and Netherton of Balquhain. From that spot it now forms the boundary 
between Drimmies and jSTetherton, to the point where it was joined by the other main 
road, which left the stone circle at Broomend for the lower fords at the Stanners. 

Between Overboat and the shoulder of the Corseman Hill, the road now described 
formed part of what may have been the oldest line of road within the parish of Inverurie, 
that leading between the Fortress, or Castle, up the Don to the territories of the Mormaors 
of Mar. In later times, it would be the eastern highway of the Ciddees of Monymusk ; at 
a later period still, the approach by the ancient kirk of St. Apollinaris to the Episcopal 
palace of Fetternear ; as it was, even for some part of the nineteenth century, the kirk road 
from Achorthies, Badifurrow, and the hill of Balquhain, and had been to nearly the 
same period the mill road from Inverurie to the Mdl of Davo, viz., Ardtannies. The 
present Donside road does not represent that primitive highway, except in one or two 
fragments. It had led from the Bass along the south edge of the Upper Boods, now 
turnpike, keeping the present line from the Bridge to Upperboat, where it entered the 
great highway ascending the Corseman Hill. It left the road to Blackhall, at the level 
shoulder of the hill, and turning sharply to the left, made for the summit, whence it 
descended in a straight line past the Priest's house, now Coldwells, to Polnar Chapel, 
and under the spot occupied by Waterside of Mauar, coming into the line of the 
present road somewhat east of Burnervie. Upon the Corseman Hill, the road, at its 
highest point, passed behind the strong stone rampart, which commanded the valley 
south of the road. Tumuli resembling graves lie thickly round that part of the hill. 

No lower road from Overboat to Coldwells broke the privacy of the old Hall of 
Ardtannies, or afforded easy access to the mill, until a century ago or less. When the 
elevated highway descended the steep west side of the summit of Corseman to the level 


shoulder, which contained the sixty-foot circle and others, a road, still partly preserved 
in the edge of the present wood, led down an unbroken green sweep to the platform 
on which the old manor house stood. The corns sucken to the mill had to he conveyed 
from Inverurie in curracks on horseback, by paths crossing the Kellands for the height 
of the Corseman, a chief one leading from the Sand Hole or Gallow Hill. The access 
from the Blackball side was past the Merchants' Graves to the saddle lying between the 
Corseman summit and the higher Davo, where the mill road would be entered upon. 

The eastern branch of the great highroad through the Garioch, proceeding from 
the Broomend stone circle to the Greenley ford of the Don, divided itself there, and 
crossed at two fords, to meet again on the other side ; the double road making a loop 
which enclosed the east branch of the river and part of the island called the Broom 
Inch, and the Ducat Haugh. The two tracks became a single line again where the 
High Street of Inverurie is now entered from Keithhall Road. 

One line of the double track kept the centre of the Broom Inch, until opposite 
the spot where the sewage niter bed was made in 1872. Crossing there, it formed the 
boundary between the Ducat Haugh — likely, from its name, to have been part of the 
Castle grounds — and the Streamhead, a part of the common lands of the Burgh. The 
other line crossing to the Stanners kept the water-side and the Haugh of Old Don, now 
Keithhall Road, on to the level of High Street, where the two paths came together 
again and formed the north road through the burgh of Inverurie. 

The eastmost line of that double approach to the town of Inverurie, after fording 
the Don, skirted the Stanners until it reached the point nearest the Ury. By that water- 
side path young Malcolm rode south to join the second Crusade ; and, a hundred years 
afterwards, Norman, the son of the last of the Constables, went to take the oath of fealty 
to English Edward, at Aberdeen. A green loaning, called Killiewalker in recent years, 
led from Don to Ury, over the isthmus of the Castle peninsula, and was the highroad 
to Caskieben, by which the Leslies, Garviachs, and Johnstons, lords of that fine domain 
for four centuries, issued forth to the numerous devoirs which feudal barons had to go 
through. The path lay between the kirkyard and the Castle, and had been little wider 
than a bridle road. It connected the Garioch highroad with the other great north road, 
by which Edward I. went from Aberdeen, past Ivinkell, to Fy vie, and by which the Duke 
of Cumberland, in 1746, marched from Aberdeen, by Tyrebagger, Bogheads, Kintore, 
Balbithan, and Old Meldrum, on his way to Culloden. The stepping-stones still 
remain by which the Ury was in former days crossed by foot passengers. 

On attaining the level of the modern street, the highway of the Garioch went 
along the present line until the middle of the west side of Market Place, where it 
skirted the northmost Upper Roods from between Numbers 25 and 17 Market Place, 
and keeping the north side of the Gallow Slack, called afterwards Porthead, entered 
the present line of "West High Street at Chelsea Lane, or Gallowhill. The road pro- 
ceeded from that point, under the Broomfold, as West High Street now lies, to cross 

8 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

the Overburn, sometimes difficult of passage, and ascended the Burgh Muir. The 
triangular nook called the Poet's Corner, and the houses adjoining it, all stand upon 
the primitive line which led along the side of the Market Green to Stonefield, as it 
till continues to do. At Stonefield the road, now obliterated, made for the highest level 
of Brandsbutt, and then kept a line now marked by a continuous stone dyke along the 
upper fields of Conglass. It crossed the march of Conglass and Drimmies, below an 
eerie spot named the Kelpy Fold, and, ascending to the highest point of Drimmies, it 
joined the road which came thither by the Davo and Blackball. 

From the point of re-union the highway descended to the Castle of Balquhain, 
crossing the Natrick, and from the Castle gradually rose to Craigsley, from which, to 
the Maiden Stone, it is still open. By the north slope of Benachie it extended, after 
passing that remarkable monument, to a spot marked by a line of old beech-trees 
where a cart-track now leads from the Oyne railway station to the west summit of 
Benachie, and, crossing the hill of Ardoyne, passed the Gadie near the Kirk of Prem- 
nay, where General Wade, in 1746, bridged that stream, making thence for the hill of 
Dunnideer and the Castle of the "Warders. 

Between Dunnideer and the first home of the Leslies, a road still open passed by 
the site of the ancient kirk of Rathmuriel, and is given as a boundary, in a title deed 
of date 1245. There King James the First witnessed the revels of Christ's Kirk fair. 

Besides the highway traversing the western heights of the valley of the Garioch, 
another had, in very early times, gone along the opposite side of the river Ury ; pos- 
sibly starting from the Earl's castle, but certainly passing Balhaggardy, Sillerstrind, 
and the Standing Stones of Eayne, where the King's Justiciar at times held assize, 
and proceeding northwards to Culsalmond, where the earliest named lands in the Garioch 
Earldom lay. 

At the time when the highway through Inverurie had been chosen, by ascending the 
Gallowslack, instead of taking the present line of Market Place and West High Street, 
the site of Market Place had been covered by a loch, known in after centuries, when 
it was much diminished, as Powtate. Excavations made in 1872, for drainage purposes, 
showed the blue clay, deposited by the stagnant pool in the deep gravel bed upon 
which Inverurie stands, extending from nearly the south end of Market Place to a 
point in the Crosslit Croft a hundred yards north of West High Street. The l^orth Burn 
found its ordinary basin in that sheet of water ; and the usual drainage to the Ury 
through the narrow passage between the Town's Eoods and the Longland Folds must 
have been occasionally supplemented by a spill-water discharge down the low level 
now leading to the Market Place Public School. As the loch was gradually shut up 
into narrow dimensions, the dried north bank of it which separated it from the burn 
formed the space now occupied by the Town-Hall and the open area before it, and 
became the Butts and Ball-green of the inhabitants. The Powtate, at the close of the 
last century, had contracted into a small muddy " dewkdub," where unwary, or incap- 


able pedestrians occasionally lost a shoe. A well was sunk at an early period on the 
edge of it. The burgh or parish school, from the first record we have of its situation, 
was always near the well, and the juvenile clients never permitted its waters to become 

In the end of the last century, roads led from the burgh to Souterford and How- 
ford, but the Blackhall Road did not exist, and the present turnpike had no more 
representing it in the parish of Inverurie than the portion between Keithhall Road and 
the beginning of North Street. The road to Souterford, by which it is likely Bruce 
chased back the enemy's skirmishers at the beginning of the battle of Inverurie, took 
the east side of Powtate. Some local movement in 1671 got the "mercat cross" 
removed to the " pairting of the gaits be south of the draw-well "; but in 1678 a 
peremptory order was passed that it be " remuved back againe from "William Downie's 
land to the place where it stode auncientlie," which was opposite the present Station 

The line of the Boman iter from the camp of Baedykes in Petercidter, to that 
ad Itunam (on the Ythan) at Glenmailen in Borgue, has been traced confidently by 
antiquaries, between Kintore and the ford of Inverurie from the rule observed by the 
Romans in marching, which was to keep along the strath of any stream that lay in 
their designed route, untd they had to cross it at a bend in its course. Passing the 
Don at the Greenley ford and then keeping the strath of the Ury, they would find 
that stream lying across their course to Glenmailen at Bitcaple. The immemorial road 
from the lower fords of the Don along the present highway of Inverurie by the Gal- 
lowslacks and Stonefield, to the site of the Castle of Balquhain, exactly suits the Boman 
rule of selection, and the coincidence of stone circles with the road — which is so marked 
between Kintore and Inverurie — continues at Stonefield, and on to Bitcaple ; a great 
circle standing on the farm of Mains of Balquhain, beyond the Old Castle. At the 
present ford of Bitcaple, indications of Boman presence are said, in the Statistical Ac- 
count, to have been discovered in a fortified work north of Pitcaple Castle ; the foun- 
dations of a bridge also being found at the crossing of the Ury, and a bit of Roman 
road farther on in the line towards Glenmailen, at Cairnhill in the parish of Rayne. 

It would be interesting to know something of the men who, in primitive times, 
passed along those ancient highways, and who perhaps could read with understanding 
the symbols of the sculptured monoliths ; or of those who went up from the Stanners 
to till their rigs on the Upper or Lower Roods ; or of those who were the first dwellers 
upon the burgage lands, the two lines of Roods which stretch like the filaments of a 
straight feather from either side of the highway, beginning at the Ducat Haugh and 
Urybank, and extending to the Gallowslack on the west side, and the North Burn on the 
east. The stone circles abounding in the neighbourhood have not been examined, at 
least extensively. The one which stands where the separation of the south road into 
two lines of approach to the Don took place, afforded two amateur antiquarians a 


10 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

tantalising " find," the story of which would have delighted the author of the " Anti- 
quary ". It was a broad concave plate of iron, straight at one end, but worn thin and 
round at the other, yet betraying its original purpose of serving as the front part of a 
cuirass, by the thick central ridge which ran up to the point covering the gorge. After 
a night spent in excited contemplation of the importance of such a discovery for fixing 
the chronological period of stone circles, it was distressing that a more cool examination 
next day discovered the relic to be part of a spade. 

Chapter I. 

Nrurin. — Vernacular name— Dunnideer — King Arth ur. Celtic Civilization from Iona — Mormaors 
of Mar and Buchan — Garioch and Strathbogy in (lie Crown — King Aodh buried at Nrurin — 
Gregory the Great — Culdees at Mmiymusk — Chapel of Apollinaris —Ard Tonics — Early lords of 
Ardtaunics — Malcolm Canmore — Robert Prince of the Catti — Battle with Danes at Densyburn — 
Church tower of Monymusk—Bartolf the Hungarian — Grip fast — The Leslies — Saxon civilization 
— The Roman Catholic Church — Parishes and monasteries — The Culdee stations — Priory of 
Monymusk — The Durwards. The Earldom of the Garioch — David Earl of Huntingdon and 
the Garioch — Earldom, lands original and alienated — Leslie lands in Inverurie — Earldom lands — 
First notice of parish and burgh of Inverurie — Style of Earl David — Ecclesiastical gifts in the 
twelfth century — Tofts in royal burghs given to monasteries — Mixture of population — Flemings — 
Diet — Visit of Papal Legate — Fortunes of Earl David — His death— John the Scot — Isabel wife of 
Robert Bruce — The four Roberts — Lordship of the Garioch. Kirk of Rothael and Burgh of 
Inverthurin— Papal bulls to Abbey of Lindores — Earl David's charter. The Kirk— The Abbey 
toft— The Vicar's manse. The Burgh — Date of royalty — Fitties's croft — Kintore. Limits of the 
Kotaltt — Davo of Inverurie. The Constables of Enrowrie — Wealth of Scotland — Norman 
immigrants — Malcolm the first Constable — Earl David's preparations for the Crusade — Badi- 
furrow— Sir Kenneth of Scotland — Norman, Second Constable — Slavery— Caskieben — Norino the 
last Constable — Isabel de Bruce— Royal visits to Kintore — Thomas the Rhymer and the Bass — 
Papal ratification of Vicarage stipends for the Abbeys — Value of the Abbeys — Fetternear — 
Garioch priests and others — Court at Inuerhury — Glack — Normand de Leslie the first Leslie — 
Fifeshire Leslies. The War of Independence— Contest for the crown— Edward I. — The Bruces 
— Bishop Henry Cheyn — Edward I. in Aberdeenshire— Wallace at Fetternear — The English 
King's tactics — Bruce and Comyn Earl of Badenoch — Mak siccar — Thomas de Longueville — 
Coronation of Robert Bruce — Loss of battle and flight — At Aberdeen — Retreat by Deeside to head 
of Tay — Kildrummie taken by the English — Captivity of the Royal household. The Battle of 
Inverurie — King's recovered fortunes — Sick at Inverurie — Carried for a time to Strathbogie — 
Winter encampment at Ardtannies— Attack by Sir David of Brechin — The King roused to take 
vengeance— Onslaught at Barra — Subjugation of Buchan and the North — Individuals of the 
period — Memorials of the battle of Inverurie. 


tHE name of our royal burgh, which Mary Queen of Scots described as being, in 
1558, a burgh of great antiquity, has suffered damage from the improvements at- 
tempted by modern taste in names. As pronounced by " the oldest inhabitant," 
it has been from time immemorial, as it is represented in the legend of the burgh arms, 
Inrure, or more accurately NEUEI, the name omitting a final N, which is given to it in 
the Pictish Chronicle, at the date a.d. 878. 

12 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garloeh. 

The name Inverurie alternating with Inverury, according to the taste of non-resi- 
dent town-clerks, can claim the pedantic examples of Inverurin and Inverthurin, used 
in the earliest royal, or papal, documents ; but the first local spelling known was 
Enrowry. Norman, constable of Enrowry, was witness to a charter founding St. 
Peter's Hospital in the Spital of Aberdeen, granted by Matthew Kinninmond, Bishop, 
who died in 1199. 

The origin of the name is popularly connected with the meeting of the Ury and 
Don. In some future age of antiquarian research a different explanation may be confi- 
dently adopted. At the period when the expected traveller from the antipodes is to 
stand upon a broken arch of London Bridge sketching the ruins of St. Pauls, if the 
burgh seal of our town shall find a place in the treasures of some historical institute of 
his country, among the coins and seals of the once famous island of Britain, its legend 
urbs in rure may lead some well-read explorer of primitive European history to a truly 
classical theory upon this point. The Roman legionaries, who, far from home in their 
Caledonian march, beheld the Tiber and Campus Martius in the Tay and its Inches, 
would experience a like pleasant surprise when, after a dull tramp from Norrnandykes, 
they emerged from the forest of Crichie. They would suddenly behold close at hand, 
across the sparkling current of the Don, a hamlet of agricultural fishermen dotting the 
Stanners between the banks of the two rivers, with the picturesque Bass presiding over 
the populous little peninsula, and in the background the green or wooded heights of the 
Davo and Knockinglews ascending, shoulder above shoulder, to the clear-cut graceful 
outline of Benachie. To the Roman soldier, whose highest ideal of home comfort was 
rus in urbe, the exclamation urbs in rure would come naturally upon the sight, and not 
the less ready to be spoken out because of its punning antithesis. Many a preten- 
tious myth has in truth had a much narrower foundation of probability. 

"Whatever degree of historic light belongs to the legend of the British King 

Arthur, embraces in its dreamy radiance Dunnideer, the historic capital of the Northern 

Picts. In Jhon Hardynge's map of Scotland, constructed about 1465, there appear 

the " Castells of Strathbolgy, of Eothiemay, of Dony Dowre"; and he says of King 

Arthur : — 

He held his household and the rounde table, 

Sometyme at Edinburgh, sometyme at Striviline — 

Of kynges renowned and most honourable ; 

At Carlysle sumwhile, at Alcluid his citie fine, 

Emong all his knights and ladies full femenine ; 

And in Scotlande at Perthe and Dunbrytain ; 

In Cornwaile also, Dover and C'airelogion, 

At Dunbar, Dunfrise, and St John's Towne — 

All of worthy knights moo then a legion ; 

At Donydoure also, in Muiith region, 

And in many other places, both eitie and toune. 

Celtic Civilization. 13 


The dawn of Christian civilization in Britain, which is the real subject of the 
legend of King Arthur, brings the Garioch into the field of history some centuries be- 
fore Aodh was buried at Nrurin. The parishes arranged by the Saxon Kings of 
Scotland, superseded in the Garioch numerous chapels, some of which perpetuated the 
names of Culdee founders, or patrons. Daviot was dedicated to Columba himself, who, 
leaving Ireland in the sixth century, made his place of refuge in Iona the- source of 
Christian civilization to the whole of Britain north of the Cairn. 

The Book of Deer tells us that Bede the Pict, Mormaor of Buchan, when Columba 
with his disciple, Drostan, came from Iona in the sixth century, gave to the two apostles 
" the city of Aberdour and the city of Deer". The Culdee successors of these two early 
lights of Scotland had probably civilized the region of the Don, and planted it with the 
beginning of its many chapels, before the existence of Grig and Eth, at a time when the 
Northmen, the ancestors of the Normans of civilized Britain, were desecrating the 
churches on the Loire with pagan orgies. The Southern Picts, living between Forth 
and the Cairn o' Munth, began to be converted to Christianity in 410-432, by St. 
Ninian, who travelled for that work from his home at Candida Casa, in Galloway (Grub's 
Ecclesiastical History). The Northern picts, ruled over in the next century by Brude, 
the son of Malcolm, inhabited Scotland from the Cairn on the south and the Grampians 
on the west, to the extreme north ; even Orkney, it would seem, acknowledging the 
King. His residence was on the Ness. All the kings of the Picts after his time were 
Christian ; and the work begun by Columba, who had Brude for one of his first enter- 
tainers in his mission to Scotland, spread rapidly thereafter over his dominions. One 
Christian Pictish sovereign received the Greek St. Rule at Kindrochet (Braemar), where 
he built his first church. 

Two great maorics almost divided what is now called Aberdeenshire between them, 
at the period when history first sheds a little light upon the north of Scotland. The 
mountainous region occupying the south and west, was under the Mormaors of Mar ; the 
great seaward plain, between the level portions of the Don and Deveron was held by 
the Mormaors of Buchan. The latter dignity goes back to about a.d. 580. Between 
those lords of the hills and lords of the valleys, were interposed the districts of Garioch 
and Strathbogie, which were " in the Crown," or more directly subject to the King. 

We have no chronological figures to appeal to before the ninth century bearing 
special reference to the Garioch ; but when Dunnideer was the capital of the Northern 
Picts, as Forteviot was of the Southern, the Bass had likely been a stronghold, such as 
we find it in the third reign of the united Pictish kingdom, less than 40 years after the 
union of the Picts. Robertson, in his " Early Kings of Scotland," states that in 878, 
on the accession of Aodh or Hugh, elsewhere called Eth of the Swift Foot, who was the 
son of Kenneth Macalpine, the first king of both Pictish kingdoms, his authority was 

14 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garloch. 

disputed by Cyric, or Grig, who seems to have held a place of pre-eminence among the 
northern magnates. " Grig apparently invaded the immediate territories of Aodh, for in 
a contest in Strathallan, he was victorious, and Aodh, wounded and a prisoner, was con- 
veyed to the fortress of Nrurin, where he died after a few weeks' captivity." Cyric, or 
Grig, himself died at Dunnideer in 806, after a peaceable reign of eighteen years, though 
nothing on r3Cord warrants the title of Gregory the Great, given him in Monkish annals. 
The fortress of Inverurie was probably on the Bass. The dining Hill, the highest 
spot in the fertile Burgh Boods of Inverurie, is said to have received the remains of 
King Aodh. The Saxon term meaning " King's Hill," may date from the later 
centuries, when the southern friends of Malcolm Canmore and his dynasty were exten- 
sively settled in the Garioch.* 

Monymusk, which about a.d. 1200 appears as a Priory, gradually adopting the 
forms of the Saxon and Bomish Church, had, in preceding centuries, been to the Garioch 
the centre of the Celtic civilization which first enlightened Scotland. From its missionary 
home, preachers had travelled far and wide over Mar, and their stations became sacred 
places. The picturesque knoll in Badifurrow, afterwards dedicated to St. Apollinaris, 
doubtless first heard Christian words from the lips of the humble Culdees of Mony- 

Did the neighbouring haugh of the Don get its remarkable Celtic name of Ard 
Tonies — the promontory of the little devils — from some Culdee monk in the days when 
fairies were 1 The deep valley, where the terraced haugh elbows the stream into a 
precipitous recess of the hill of Crichie, would afford an appropriate haunt for the 
mischievous revels of " the good people," as they were seen, with the proper degree of 
indistinctness, down the river from Polnar, upon misty moonlight nights. 

What wearers of flesh and blood dwelt then in the sheltered dell which was 
afterwards to be the chief Manor of the royal Earldom, sending forth its last Earl, 
Scotland's greatest king, to the beginning of his patriotic victories ? 

The local importance of the spot must have a higher antiquity assigned to it than 

even that of the pristine earldom of David. Long before his day, stone axes, and flint 

arrows were among the antiquities of war ; and the lord of " the deevilicks' knowe," in 

primitive times, must have been a man of consequence. No flints are found in the 

granitic formations of the Don braes, nor within a great distance ; but remains of arrow 

manufacture so plentiful as to furnish a barrowful of chips in a breadth of twelve yards 

* The original authorities for the story of King Aodh are the Pictish Chronicle, which records his 
death in the town of Nrurin, and the Ulster Annals which say that he was, in 878, occcsus a sociis in 
civitalc Nrurin. The other particulars of the tradition were added by later writers. Mr. Skene {Celtic 
Scotland) holding their authority as of no value, yet seeks to transfer the scene of the King's death 
to a pass in Breadalbane, where there is a place called Blairinroar, simply on account of their having 
made Cyric an actor in the event, and also connected him with Dunnideer or the Garioch, erroneously 
as Ml'. Skene holds. He omits to note the important fact that those later historians must have 
inherited from the early readers of the Chronicle and Annals their belief that the civitas Nrurin was 
Inverurie in the Garioch. By that current belief, for which they were not responsible, they might be 
led to locate Cyric and Dunnideer in the Garioch, if they erred in so doing. 

Celtic Civilization. 15 

seem to indicate, when taken along with the existence of the strong pit fortifications, 
the residence of some person who required to make his power known. The spot where 
the chips were found, and which was never tilled until the present century, exhibits un- 
mistakably what a mass of stones must have been, in course of time, calcined in the 
process, whatever it was, which was employed. Did the builder of the artistic cylin- 
drical erections rest in the cairn on the summit of Ardtannies, where he had kept his 
rude state while in life 1 Or who was that personage whose skeleton was found at 
Broomend, orderly laid on its side, with gathered-up knees, a carved urn, with its skil- 
fully moulded leather lamp within, by his side — all reverently covered over with the 
ample bull-hide, in his carefully luted stone sepulchre 1 "Was he lord of the Garioch 
centuries before David — before the Culdee missionaries of Christianity — before King 
Eth of the Swift Foot was buried in the Cuning Hill — before the Kornan march — in 
that far back early stone period, whose inscriptions and unhewn monuments now form 
the puzzle of antiquaries 1 

The civil history of the Garioch begins to have some continuity with Malcolm * 
Canmore and his Queen, whose marriage brought the first of the great Leslie family, and 
the uplands of Inverurie, on the stage of history. It is, however, very interesting to find 
among the warlike followers of Malcolm's great-grandsire, Malcolm the Second, as one of 
the antagonists of Canute, the ancestor of the famous Keiths, Marischals of Scotland, 
whose representative is now the head of the chief titled family in the Garioch. In 
1010, the Scots gained a complete victory over the Danes at Barry, in Angus. Camus, 
the Danish general, was killed by a young nobleman, afterwards named Keith, and the 
King rewarded him with several lands, especially the Barony of Keith in East Lothian, 
and appointed him Great Marischal of Scotland. According to some accounts, Robert, 
Prince of the Catti, the hero of this narrative, was ennobled on the field by the King, 
who, dipping his fingers in the blood of the dying Dane, stroked three bars on the 
shoulder of the victor, pronouncing the words, afterwards the motto of the Marischal 
family — Veritas vincit— with reference to the victory God had given him, as he had 
tried before the battle to assure his apprehensive followers would be their fortune. The 
Marischals' dignity is historically traced in the Keith family from Philip, who was 
Marischal under "William the Lion. 

It was in connection with the romantic preserving of the royal insignia of Scotland, 
six and a-half centuries afterwards, that a descendant of Eobert the first Marischal, 
Sir John Keith of Keith-hall, was, in 1677, created Earl of Kintore. His mansion- 
house of Keithhall stands near a spot associated, like his family name, with the 
Danish times. Tradition makes the name Densyburn, in Keith-hall, commemorative 
of a great defeat inflicted upon the Danes (Danesburn) at Kinmuck, where a large 
range of fields bears the name of Blair Hussey, or the Field of Blood.— Statistical 

Less than two hundred years after the period assigned to the contest between Aodh 

16 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

and his conqueror Grig, the first of the Saxon magnates, who became powerful in the 
Garioch, came to Scotland with Margaret Atheling, when, in 1068, she became the 
queen of Malcolm of the Great Head— great intellectually as well as physically. 

Malcolm Canmore's reign contributes two events to the history of the Garioch. 

One was the founding of the tower of the Church of Monymusk. The King's spear, 
which was the measuring rod used in marking out an extension vowed to the Church of 
Mortlach, after a great victory over the Danes, is said to have afforded the dimensions 
in length and breadth of the square tower ; and His Majesty endowed the Priory with 
extensive lands out of Royal possessions, which he ascertained, on the occasion, to lie 
in the shire of Aberdeen. 

Later than the founding of the Monymusk tower, and sometime after 1067, a large 
portion of the lands of Inverurie, the whole of which seem to have been Crown 
property at the time, was given by the King to Bartolf, a Hungarian nobleman, the 
ancestor of the great family of Leslie. That surname his descendants, in the fourth 
generation, adopted from the parish of Leslie ; the lands of which, with others in the 
Garioch and some in Fife, formed their original barony. 

The first seat of that family, and the last property held in the Garioch, by the 
direct line of the house, was the Castle of Lesly in the parish of the same name ; 
where Lesly of that Ilk continued down to the seventeenth century, retaining until 
that period the superiority of the Garioch lands included in the barony of Lesly. 

Bartolf had been in the suite of Margaret Atheling, when, with her brother Edward 
and her sister Christian, she fled from the ducal court of Normandy, to avoid the 
Conqueror's taking vengeance upon them for the English having made a demonstration, 
during his absence in Normandy, in behalf of Edward and their own freedom. The 
Royal fugitives were wrecked at Margaret's Hope, near Queensferry ; and the Scottish 
King, who chanced to be there, became captive to the beauty of the Saxon Princess. 
She in no long time became his Queen, and proved to be the person of greatest in- 
fluence for the welfare of Scotland which the early times of that country record. 

Bartolf, the first great laird in the parish of Inverurie, is said to have been made 
Governor of Edinburgh Castle, and to have married the King's sister. He was 
Chamberlain to the Queen, and in that capacity had the honour and responsibility of 
carrying Her Majesty on horseback behind him when she travelled. Once in crossing 
a stream she was in danger, or fear, of falling ; and Bartolf, whose belt she held by, 
said to her " Grip fast," to which the Queen replied, " Gin the buckle bide ". Such, at 
least, is the origin traditionally given to the family motto and bearings adopted after- 
wards, — possibly when William I. introduced armorial bearings into Scotland, choosing 
a red lion for his own device ; as the English King Richard had marked his shield with 
three lions in gold. Bartolf must have been a young man when he landed with the 
future Queen Margaret at Margaret's Hope ; for we find his son Constable of the Castle 
of Inverurie sometime after a.d. 1171, a full century after the Queen's marriage. 

Celtic Civilization. 17 

Knockinglews, the portion of the great lordship of Leslie which lay in the parish 
of Inverurie, continues — with the exception of Drimmies, Braco, and Badifurrow, its 
east, west, and south extremities — in the possession of descendants of Bartolf. The 
lands which gave the name of Leslie to the family are now in other hands ; and the 
existing chief line of the family — that of the Earls of Bothes — have long had their 
residence in another part of the kingdom. 

The ancestor of the Leslies was only one of a large number of new lords of the 
soil, whom Malcolm Canmore and his immediate successors planted amongst their Celtic 
subjects. Those sovereigns sought to accelerate and secure the desired Saxon civilization 
by leavening the community with a sufficiency of new families "to the manner born " ; 
but their summary mode of proceeding was the source of much trouble for several 
reigns, especially in the burghs which the Kings had begun to create. 

The chief policy, however, kept in view by the descendants of Margaret Atheling 
was to establish and strengthen, throughout Scotland, the cosmopolitan power of the 
Boman Catholic Church. The parochial distribution of the country seems to have been 
no sooner accomplished than an additional ecclesiastical influence was devised, that of 
central strongholds, in the form of monasteries as well as of bishoprics. Both classes 
of institutions were founded, or largely endowed with royal lands, by Malcolm's son, 
David I., " the sair saunct for the Croon " ; and portions of the revenues of many 
parishes were given by the kings, and by great landholders following their example, to 
particular abbeys, or bishoprics, not always those belonging to the locality. The 
tradition, or perhaps still remaining sentiment of Culdee Christianity, made this 
centralising policy easily engrafted on the parochial system. 

The ecclesiastical system which was superseded by the Saxon institution of parishes, 
left traces of itself in the names of numerous sacred places, some only of which became 
the sites of parish churches. Monymusk, besides the Priory and an oratory at Balvach, 
both dedicated to the Virgin, had St. Finnan's at Abersnithic, now called Braehead. 
The parish of Kemnay owed fealty to St. Anne, the mother of the Virgin, but had 
also a church of St. Bride, where the minister of Kemnay occasionally preached in the 
seventeenth century, probably situated at Craigearn. Daviot honoured the Irish apostle, 
St. Columba of Iona, and had also St. James's at Fingask. Oyne had St. Ninian's 
Chapel at Pitmeddan. Bayne professed St. Andrew, and had a chapel of the Virgin at 
Kotmais. Kinkell was hallowed by the patronage of St. Michael, archangel. In 
Bourtie there was a chapel called St. John's at Barra. St. aSTachlan was tutelar of 
Bethelney, and a chapel of the Virgin stood beneath the house of Meldrum, where the 
Ladywell was long frequented, in the month of May, for " the headache ". If there was 
no dedicated church in Culsalmond, three sacred fountains — St. Mary's, St. Michael's, 
and another — represented the prevalent sentiment which reverenced spots of holy 
memory. Premnay honoured St. Cara, and had at Auchleven a chapel dedicated to St. 
James. Kintore was under the protection of the Virgin, and Fetternear claimed that 


18 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

of St. Mnian, while Insch belonged to St. Drostan. The names of several of those 
patron saints indicate a date for the origin of the chapels anterior to the parochial 
organisation of the Latin Church. Columba, Marnan, Cara, Wolock, Ninian, and 
Naclilan, are liker Celtic and Culdee than Latin and Eomisk names. Many of the 
primitive chapels, though they never became parish churches, preserved then- sanctity 
in popular sentiment to comparatively recent times. 

The labours and successes of the Culdee successors of St. Columba, in Buchan and 
Mar, are sufficiently attested by history to wan-ant us to affiliate those chapels in the 
Garioch to the same family, probably through its lenown representative, the Priory of 
Monymusk ; which had not become wholly assimilated to the Latin order of Church 
when parishes were long time established around. 

The meeting of the two systems appears in the terms of a gift, made about a.d. 
1200, by Gilchrist, Earl of Mar, to the Priory of Monymusk, of the Churches of St. 
Andrew of Alford, St. Marnan of Leochel, and St. "Wolock of Euthven. 

Among the benefactors of the Culdee Priory, two other individuals appear about 
that period, whose names are of interest in Aberdeenshire genealogy. In the first 
quarter of the century — Thomas Durward, son of Malcolm of Lundy, doorward to the 
king, confirmed a grant, made long before by his grandfather and his mother, to the 
Culdees of Monymusk, consisting of ten bolls of malt and ten stones of cheese. 

Thomas, in right of his mother, claimed the Earldom of Mar before 1228, and his 
son Alan, who was Justiciary of Scotland, renewed the claim in 1257. The contention 
as to the title failed; but Thomas had acquired, under the settlement made of the dispute 
in his case, vast domains in Mar, extending from Invercanny on the Dee, to Alford on 
the Don, and from Skene on the east to Coull on the west, where the Durwards reared 
a castle, some long-buried remains of which were uncovered about 1790. It had been 
a square building, fifty yards in length of side, having large hexagonal towers at the 
angles, and the walls fifteen to twenty feet in thickness. One gate remained entire, 
finished by a Gothic arch of freestone ; and a coin was found bearing the legend — 
Alexander Rex Scotorum. The branch of the Lundy family, thus taking the surname 
of Doorward, or Durward, from their hereditary dignity, became prominent in Forfar- 
shire, but has been long extinct. 


In historic times, the Garioch and Strathbogie appear to have been held as an 
appanage of the Crown, or younger son's portion ; and gave to one of the heraldic 
officers of Scotland the title of Pursuivant of the Garioch, as the appanages of Eothesay 
and Albany had heralds named after them.. 

Prince Henry, the only son of David I. predeceased him. Prince Henry's children, 
by his wife, Ada, were according to the received genealogy — Malcolm III., born anno 

The Earldom of the Garioch. 19 

1142 — William I., 1143 — and David, Earl of Huntingdon, 1144 : Ada, married to 
Florence, Count of Holland ; Margaret, married to the Duke of Brittany ; and Matilda, 
who died unmarried. Wynton (Chronicle) and the interpolator of Fordun, both say 
that David was older than his brother William. The famous David, Earl of Huntingdon, 
was the first historical Earl of the Garioch, and, as was the manner of the time, held 
not the title only, but the Crown lands, so far as they had not been alienated before the 
creation of the Earldom. Malcolm III., generally called Malcolm the Maiden — bestowed 
the Earldom on his youngest brother, David, the most important in a genealogical point 
of view of the three, having been the ancestor of the subsequent royal house of Scot- 
land, and afterwards of Great Britain. 

The territories of the regality of the Garioch had already been diminished by King 
Malcolm, through several benefactions made to the Catholic Church, which was the 
chief object of fostering care to all the family of kings immediately descended from 
Malcolm Canmore and his Saxon Queen, Margaret Atheling. The boundaries of the 
Earldom — if coincident with the parishes evidently held in property by Earl David 
and those gifted by his brother — were wider than the subsequent Deanery, and the 
modern Presbytery of the Garioch. Clatt and Kennethmont were portions of the 
Garioch of David of Huntingdon. The portions given away from the Crown, before his 
time, were the " schyres," or entire parishes, of Bayne and Daviot, and the kirk and 
kirklands of Ovyn (Oyne), gifts of which to the bishopric of Aberdeen were ratified by 
the Pope in 1157, three years before Malcolm the Maiden is said to have made his 
brother David Earl of the Garioch. Bethelney, on the outskirts of the Garioch, be- 
longed to the Earls of Buchan ; and Bourtie had been the property of an influential 
family named Lamberton, by whom it was bestowed on the Abbey of Arbroath, before 
the end of the century. 

The mass of the remaining parish churches, Clatt, Kennethmont, Eathmuriel, Insch, 
Culsalmond, Premnay, Logydurno, Inverurie, and Monkegy, were made, by the great 
Earl of the Garioch, one large ecclesiastical appendage to the Abbey of Lindores, and 
accompanied by substantial additions of lands in several of the parishes. 

In the parish of Inverurie, Earl David did not alienate any of the regality lands 
which became his with the Earldom. The lands of Knockinglews, said to have been 
bestowed by his great-grandfather, Malcolm Canmore, upon Bartolf, and which were 
confirmed to Bartolf s son by charters executed by David himself, were bounded by the 
two burns which flow out from the swampy hollow of Temping Walls — one eastward 
through the Kelpy Fold to the Ury at Conglass, the other southward to where the 
ancient Kirk of Rothael — in later times dedicated to St. Apollinaris — looks down the 
Don to the old haunt of superstitious belief, Ardtannies, the knowe, or promontory, of 
the " little deevils ". 

Earl David's own Inverurie lands made up the rest of the entire parish, and were 
encompassed by the line formed by those two burns, and the confluent rivers Don and 

20 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Ury. With the exception of the lands of Conglass, and those of Blackball, they became 
either in his time, or before it, the chief part of the royal burgh of Inverurie. 

Blackhall was made at an early, but unknown, period, the seat of an important local 
officer of the Earldom, the Coroner and Forester of the Garioch — Blackhall of that Hk, 
whose arms appropriately included the device of a hooded falcon. 

It is in the time of the Earldom of David, and in intimate connection with him- 
self, that the documentary history of both the Parish and Burgh of Inverurie begins 
with a Papal Bull of date 1195. 

The graphic historian, Tytler, gives us a portrait of David, Earl of Huntingdon, 
in his knightly armour, as he may sometimes have appeared before setting forth with his 
little band of knights to join Cceur de Lion for the disastrous crusade, which caused 
them both to taste the bitterness of captivity. A figure of him appears on his seal. 
His armour, called trellissed at the time, was not of mail, but formed of cloth and 
leather. The cloth coat, or vest, reached only to the haunches, and had sleeves ex- 
tending to the wrists. It was intersected by broad stripes of leather, laid on so as to 
cross each other, leaving intervening squares of the cloth, in the middle of which was 
a round knob, or stud, of steel. The hood, called the chaperon, was of quilted cloth, 
and the under tunic of linen covered the knee, and hung in folds over the saddle, 
which was highly peaked in the shape of a swan's neck. His shield was rounded at 
the top, and his long spear was surmounted by a gonfalon, or war flag, on which a 
rose was embroidered. His helmet was conical, plain, and worn over the hood ; and 
the horse had neither armour nor trappings. It is interesting to find David bearing 
as his device the rose, which was the cognisance long after of his descendants, the later 

Instructive glimpses of the condition of the country at the time are obtained from 
some of the deeds endowing the new ecclesiastical erections. About 1137, David I. 
bestowed upon the See of Aberdeen, the schyres or parishes of Clatt, Tullynestle, Eayne 
and Daviot. In 1157, the township of Fetternear, with the Church and its appurtenances 
already belonged to the Bishop of Aberdeen, who was confirmed in the possession by 
Pope Adrian IV. Churches in Tarland and Migvie had before been given by the Earls 
of Mar to the Canons of St. Andrews. The teinds of extensive Crown lands between Don 
and Spey, and all the lands of Birse, had been given by David I. and his son, Malcolm 
the Maiden, to the Bishop of Aberdeen ; and the Abbey of Melrose held some land in 
the parish of " Bane ". In the same period, Gilchrist, Earl of Mar, built the priory of 
Monymusk, and endowed it with the revenues of the churches of St. Andrews of 
Alford, St. Marnan of Leochel, and St. Wolock of Euthven. Before 1199, probably, 
the church of Kinkell was the property of the Knights Templars, with its subordinate 
;hurches of Kintore, Kinnellar, Kemnay, Skene, Drumblade, and Dyce, and many 
properties besides, among others, Aquhythie in Kemnay, Christ's kirk in Kennethmont, 
and Warthill. The church of Bourtie appears in a rather prominent social position. 

The Earldom of the Gar loch. 21 

Before 1199, William de Lamberton, a name distinctive of social rank, conferred upon 
the priory of St. Andrews the church of Bourdin, with its tithes, common pasture, and 
pertinents, endowing it shortly after with twelve acres of land on the west side of the 
kirk, to which Badulf, Bishop of Aberdeen, afterwards added " two ploughs of land, 
and the manse and its curtilage, in which Hugh the rector used to live ". 

The names of some of the parish priests of the time have come down to us. A 
portion of a monumental stone was discovered, several years ago, in the churchyard 
of Insch, bearing the name of Badulfi sacrdotls, in letters of the Irish character, 
which Mr. Jervise thinks may have commemorated a chaplain of the bishop of Aber- 
deen, so named, who lived 1172-1199. Adam was clericus de Helen (Ellon) at the 
same date. The Archdeacons of Aberdeen, who were ex officio parsons of Bayne, were 
— Simon before 1188, a contemporary of the first two Constables, Malcolm before 1199, 
Onier before 1214, and Malcolm before 1224. A neighbour and contemporary of the 
last was the Treasurer, William, ex officio parson of Daviot. John, vicar of Fetter- 
near, appears in 1242 ; Robert de la Bunce, vicar of Bourtie, in 1240 ; and Thomas de 
Ludan in 1268; Bicardus, vicar of Dournoch, in 1257; and Bicardus, vicar of Inuir- 
nry in 1262. William Lamberton was rector of Turriff, and Boger Stainforth vicar of 
Banchory-Ternan at the same date. 

In that period the bishops and the abbeys managed to acquire tofts, or sites for 
houses, in most of the towns of Scotland, as part of the possessions of their establish- 
ments. William the Lion gave to Bichard, Bishop of Murray, a toft in each of the 
towns of Banff, Inverculen, Elgin, Foreys, Eren (Nairn), and Invernys. The Abbey of 
Lindores had from him and his brother David, Earl of Huntingdon, a toft in each of 
the burghs of Inverurie, Bervie, Stilling, Crail, Perth, Forfar, Montrose, Aberdeen, and 
Inverkeithing. In the beginning of the next century, Alexander II., his son, gave to 
the monks of Kinloss similar gifts in the burghs of Nairn, Aberdeen, Banff, Berwick, 
Stirling, and Perth, " that men of theirs might remain at thir tofts without service "-. 

A noteworthy indication of the success of the Eoyal policy, which had sought 
to leaven the Celtic population with other elements, is found in a charter by David of 
Huntingdon to Malcolm, the son of Bartolf, of the lands of Leslie. The charter is 
addressed to all who may see it, " clerics and laics, French, English, Flemings, and 
Scots ". The Normans, Saxons, and Scots are easily accounted for ; the Flemings, we 
know, had before then colonised the west of England, where their textile skill established 
an enduring fame for cloth manufacture. A settlement of Flemings had evidently also 
held a possession in the Garioch, in Cruteryston or Courtestown, in Lesly parish ; the 
lands of which, two centuries later, had still the right of Fleming Law acknowledged 
in their charters. The place chosen by the peaceful artisans, and where tokens of them 
still remain in the name Flindres, belonging to one or two farms, was on some rich 
land near the watershed of the Gadie and Bogie. Their national acquaintance with 
the dangers of neighbourhood to the Danish pirates would make the Flemings select an 

22 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

inland residence instead of one nearer the coast of Aberdeenshire, which was no quiet 
region until Malcolm Camnore finally subdued the hardy Norsemen. Malcolm himself 
erected the bishopric which he endowed, not at Aberdeen, but in the fastnesses of 
Mortlach. It is likely that the population was then most dense in the line of country, 
now sparsely inhabited, which leads from Perth by the upper straths of the Dee and 
Don to the kingdom of Moray. Evidence of that region having been extensively 
inhabited in pre-historic times is afforded by the numerous " Pict's houses," once to be 
seen on the moor of Kildrummy, and the lake dwellings traced in Loch Cannor. 

Indications of an abundant population appear in several districts, and the land was 
already extensively sub-divided. The present names of a number of places in Birse 
appear in a charter of William the Lion to the Bishop of Aberdeen. The country was 
studded thickly with mills, and multures were already arranged. Brew-houses frequently 
conveyed as pendicles of estates and manses, reveal how essential an element in common 
diet beer, the characteristic beverage of the northern nations, had become. Malt, as well 
as meal, was among the items with which lands were burdened. The Prior and Twelve 
Culdees of Monymusk had, as already mentioned, a yearly grant of ten bolls of malt, 
and ten stones of cheese, in the middle of the twelfth century, from a great Deeside 
proprietor, Lundin the Durward. 

It is amusing to learn the notion formed of the region, prior to experience, by a 
polished Italian of the time, the Papal Legate to England. He speaks, as his country- 
man Caesar might have done 1000 years before, of travelling to the depths of Scotland 
(in profundum Scotice). His errand was to collect fees personally ; and he seems to 
have been pleased with his harvest. 

The story of Earl David's fortune in the Crusade is very illustrative of the 

Hollinshed, in his chronicle, says that he was the taker of Acre for Cceur de Lion, 
and the manner was this : — One Oliver, a Scottish baron, was within the town. He 
was in banishment from Scotland for felony, and had taken service with the Saracens, 
whose language he had so well acquired as not to be recognisable for a foreigner. Oliver 
had one of the gates in keeping, on a side of the town where there was only a single 
wall, without trenches or other fortifications. Chancing to see one of his own kinsmen 
among the besiegers in David's retinue, named John Durward (probably one of the great 
Coull family), incontinently he called to him. They came together, and Oliver, after some 
reproachful remonstrance by Durward for being in such a position, bargained to sur- 
render the gate to the Earl, if the latter would get him restored to his lands at home. 
David accepting the condition, was afterwards admitted, and overpowered the town. 

On his return home with Eichard, a tempest wrecked David's ship on the Egyptian 
coast, and he was taken and sold as a slave to Venetian merchants, who carried him to 
their city, then the mart of the world, where he was recognised by some English mer- 
chants, and ransomed by them. Before reaching home, he was again storm-tossed, and 

TJie Earldom of the Garioch. 23 

running into the Firth of Tay, got safely to land at a place whose name, in token of 
thankfulness for his escape, he changed into Donum Dei — now Dundee. 

To the same grateful spirit is attributed by the chronicler, his founding of the 
famous Abbey of Lindores, part of his gift to which was the Kirk of Inverurie with its 
tithes, and the toft in the burgh. As the Crusade was in 1192, dates agree well enough 
with the supposition that the last and perfecting charter was given several years after 
Earl David's return. 

On the escape of Eichard Cceur de Lion from his unknown prison, David was the 
first to rise in arms in favour of his crusader comrade against the intrigues of Philip of 
France and King John, Richard's false brother ; and, in 1191, along with his brother-in- 
law, the Earl of Chester, he laid seige to the strong castle of Nottingham in behalf of the 
liberated King. Richard returned home in that year, and the King of Scotland and his 
brother David, went to welcome him, one of their suite being Sir William Keith, the 
Marischal, whose descendants, the Earls of Kintore, were five hundred years later to 
become the proprietors of Earl David's Inverurie lands. 

The first Earl of the Garioch survived his brother, the King, some four or five years, 
and saw the early part of the reign of Alexander II. — William's only legitimate son — 
which extended from 1214 to 1249, and had as its principal work, to reduce the Celtic 
portion of the population into habits of subordination. In the case of the Hebridean 
chiefs, that object was not accomplished entirely until two centuries later, when the Lord 
of the Isles was able to meet the strength of the kingdom on nearly equal terms at Har- 

David, Earl of Huntingdon and the Garioch, at one time also Earl of Lennox and 
Lord of Strathbogie, died, an aged man, at an important epoch of Scottish history; when 
the strife was terminated between the Royal Houses of England and Scotland, which 
had lasted from the time of Henry II., whose undutiful son, Richard, had, in an attempt 
upon the crown, been abetted by William the Lion and his brother, David. By his 
Countess, the sister of Randolph Earl of Chester, Earl David had three sons, two of 
whom, David and Henry, predeceased him ; and the third, John, " the Scot," was left 
a minor. 

John does not at first appear as Earl of the Garioch, that title having been given 
by the King, his cousin, Alexander II., to a natural son of the late King. The arrange- 
ment seems to have been in accordance with Scottish custom at that period, of appoint- 
ing over a minor in the nobility, a guardian bearing his ward's title for the time. 
John evidently held his father's Garioch possessions, as he granted renewals of his 
father's charters upon lands in that district. He became, on his mother's death, Earl of 
Chester. David left also three married daughters, Margaret, Isabel, and Adama, from 
whom sprung the rival claimants for the Scottish Crown, Baliol, Bruce, and Hastings, 
— whose competition led to the disastrous wars with Edward I. 

Isabel, who married Robert Bruce, Lord of Annandale, and was great-grandmother 

24 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

of the illustrious King Robert, was her brother's successor in the superiority of the 
Garioch, as appears by ihe Kiug Alexander II. granting, in 1248, a charter on the 
lands of Leslie to Norino, " The Constable," at her instance and that of her son Robert 

Robert was, of course, her successor, though he does not appear designated in any 
document any more than Earl John, or Isabel de Bruce, Earl of the Garioch. He 
married Isabel de Clare, daughter of the Earl of Gloucester ; and they had a son also 
named Robert. 

The third Robert Bruce was the hero of the romantic incident of Turnberry woods. 
Marjory, Countess of Carrick in her own right, lost her husband, Sir Adam of Kilcon- 
quhar, by his death in Palestine in the crusade which was set on foot by Louis IX. of 
France in 1268. Prince Edward of England, afterwards Edward I., had been followed 
in that expedition by Robert Bruce, whose domains lay near Turnberry Castle. 
After his return home, Bruce was riding in solitude one day through the woods of 
Turnberry, and encountered the palfreys of the young widow's train, when she was out 
hawking. He turned his horse's head to withdraw, but was merrily pursued, and 
surrounded by the Countess and her sprightly following. Laying her hand upon his 
bridle, she reproached him for ungallantly fleeing from a lady's castle, and led him 
captive to Turnberry ; where he shortly acquired courage to brave the royal displeasure 
by marrying her, without the licence requisite to matrimonial union with a ward of the 
Crown. The son of that romantic union was Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick and King 
of Scotland ; who honoured his mother's title by making it the title of the heir to the 

In the succession of the fourth Robert Bruce, the dignities and possessions of the 
Earldom of the Garioch reverted to their original source — the Crown. They were 
issued by the King in a new form — that of the Lordship of the Garioch, occasionally 
called the Earldom ; and the new erection had some romantic associations. It took 
place when the King's arduous task of establishing the independence of Scotland was 
accomplished, and it was a marriage portion bestowed, in 1326, by the King upon his 
sister Christian — who had shared many of his misfortunes — when, after a long widow- 
hood, and having a son brought up from infancy in the Court of England, she was in 
middle age wedded to one of the steadiest supporters of the national cause — Sir Andrew 
Moray, Pantelar of Scotland ; for the weal of whose soul she founded the first chap- 
lainry in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin of the Garioch (the origin of the Chapel of 
Garioch) sometime before 1357. Erom Christian, Lady of the Garioch, the title and 
lands descended to the Earls of Mar. 

When we find papal records dealing with Inverurie as a parish and a burgh in a.d. 
1195, it is evident that the Garioch, and Inverurie, its seat of regality, were already 

The Kirk of Rofhael and the Burgh of Inverth/in'/i. 25 

advanced a great way from what may readily be supposed to have been their primitive 

The documentary history of Inverurie commences with a period when a composite 
ecclesiastical establishment and a burgh were both in existence, and already in a 
condition to admit of some portion of the property belonging to them being alienated by 
the Boyal Earl of the Garioch for the benefit of his Abbey of Lindores. Pope 
Celestine III., by a Bull, dated at the Lateran, eight days before the Ides of March, in 
the fourth year of his pontificate, a.d. 1195, confirms to the Monastery of Londores all 
its possessions and privileges, including the Town, Mill, Mill Multures, and Church of 
Londores, the Island of Eedinch, a fishing near it on the Tay, the Church of Dunde, a 
toft in the burgh of Dunde, and beyond the Muneth (Cairn o' Mount) the town of 
Tintreth, with its pertinents and its church, and in the Garviach, Lodhgavel, and 
Malinch, (Ledingham and Malinside in Culsalmond) the Church of Eothael with its 
chapels, viz. : — Inverurin aud Munkegin, the Church of Durnoch (Logydurno), the 
Church of Pranie (Premnay), the Church of Eadmuriel (Christ's Kirk, now part of 
Insch), the Church of Ingemabanin (Insch), the Church of Culsalmeil (Culsalmond), 
the Church of Kelalemund (Kinnethmont), with all their endowments, a toft in the 
burgh of Inverthurin, and the tenth of all Earl David's profits and pleas which he 
possessed when he made the donation. 

Other possessions confirmed by the Bull had been added, between the time of 
David's gift and a.d. 1195, by King William and his son Eobert — a natural son of the 
King — called Eobert of Lundie, from whom the now existing branches of the John- 
stons of Caskieben derive descent, through an intermarriage contracted in 1597. The 
Papal deed is preserved in a transumpt, which the convent had thought good to obtain 
from Pope Nicholas IV., in 1291, a century later. — Spald. Club Collec, IV., 501. 

In three years after the Bull of Pope Celestine, the Convent had sought another 
" Confirmation of Privileges " from Pope Innocent III. It was issued thirteen days 
before the Calends of April, at the Lateran, a.d. 1198, in the second year of his ponti- 
ficate. A few additions had been made to the Abbey possessions ere that time, and the 
spelling of the Garioch names is altered to Lethgauel and Malind, the Churches of 
Eitcheth, Durnoh, Eathmuriel, Inchemabanin, Munchegin, Inverurin, and Culsamuel. 

The only extant charter of Earl David himself, upon these possessions, is assigned to 
the years 1202-1206 ; and had been for some reason desiderated after the two confir- 
mations. It omits the church of Eothael or Eitcheth, and includes " the church oi' 
Inverurin, with the chapel of Munkegin, and all their pertinents". The charter is 
confined entirely to the churches and church lands enumerated in the gifts by David 
in the preceding confirmation, and is called a " Charter of Foundation of the Church 
aud Monastery of Londores, in the woods of Ironsyde, within the county of Fyffe". 
It bears that he had founded the Abbey for the welfare of the souls of King David, 
his grandfather ; of Earl Henry, his father, and of Countess Ada, his mother ; of King 


2G Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Malcolm, his brother, of King William, his brother, and of Queen Armegard ; and of 
all his ancestors, and of Countess Matilda, his spouse; of David, his son, and of all 
his successors, and of his brothers and sisters. Matthew the Falconer, ancestor of the 
Lords Falconer of Halkerton, now Earls of Kintore, was one of the witnesses. 


A church having two dependent chapels must have been an institution of some 
standing when it was so described ; and the Church of Eothael may, very probably, 
have been an early outpost of the Culdee monastery, which is believed to have existed 
at Monymusk, eight miles distant, centuries before there were parishes in Scotland. 
The appellation Church of Eothael disappears immediately after the first charter, and 
Inverarin takes its place, with Munkegin as a subordinate chapel. The following sug- 
gestion is offered as to the origin of the primitive name. The earliest church, or the 
church of the date of the first charter, seems evidently to have stood where some 
remains of the walls of a later edifice now enclose the tiny burial-place of Polnar Chapel 
— a name due to the Church of Inverurie having been in later times dedicated to St. 
Apollinaris, Bishop of Eavenna, who lived a.d. 74-81. Pohiar Chapel stands on a 
pretty platform overhanging the Don, exactly opposite to a hill, the vernacular name of 
which is Eocharl. Eothael might, with the utmost ease, have been mis-read for Eoc- 
hael by the writer of the Papal Deed, the c and t in antique manuscript being 
frequently undistinguishable. The resemblance of Eocharl to Eothael would be quite 
as close as occurs in many corruptions of Garioch proper names in old documents, the 
true reading of which is now certainly known. 

The chapel of Inverurin, which was an appendage of the church of Eothael, may 
have been a chapel attached to the Castle, and situated in the present churchyard, 
where the presence of the place of worship would lead to the gradual formation of a 
burying ground around it, in accordance with the universal sentiment of Christian 
countries. The little mound, now forming the churchyard, was separated from the 
Castle only by the narrow watercourse, or swampy path, of Killiewalker; which extended 
from the Don to the Ury, and when under water converted the Stanners into an island, 
and formed with the Don and the Ury a fosse around the Castle and its dependent 
hamlet, which lay spread out before it along the triangular peninsula. The situation, 
on that site, of the Chapel of Inverurin seems to be corroborated by the fact that the 
toft, or piece of ground sufficient for a house and garden, which Earl David of Hun- 
tingdon and the Garioch bestowed on the Abbey of Lindores, along with the Church of 
Eothael and its dependent chapels, and the tithes of his lands in Inverurie, was a spot 
immediately adjoining the castle and churchyard. 

A toft, or house stance, within one or more of the burghs and towns of the time, 
was a common possession of the abbeys, and afforded a convenient place of lodging, 

The Burgh. 27 

to the brethren, when travelling upon the business of the monastery, or going about 
on preaching tours. The residence of the early vicars of Inverurie is, by local tra- 
dition, placed close by Polnar Chapel, on the lowest slope of the brae of Aikenhead, 
where the burn of Polnar separates it from the lands of Badifurrow, on which the 
church stood. The priest's glebe is pointed out a little in front of the houses of Cold- 
wells, on the very outside of the royal lands called the Davo, the tithes of which 
Earl David gave to his Abbey of Lindores. 

Half a century elapses before we have any further mention of Inverurie as a parish. 
It occurs when some general order had been agreed upon as to the provision to be 
made, by the great abbeys, for the vicars of the parishes attached to them. The parish 
church may have continued long at Polnar ; as the estate of Badifurrow, on which it 
stood, became the property of the Abbey of Lindores. At the Reformation the Church 
was in the present churchyard, a heather-thatched building of small dimensions. The 
present parish church is the second which has had its site in the middle of the burgh. 


The original charter constituting Inverurie a royal burgh was lost long before the 
reign of Queen Mary. In a charter of Novodamus, granted in 1558, it is stated that 
Inverurie had been a royal burgh beyond the memory of man ; and King Robert Bruce, 
in a charter upon his lands in the Garioch, lying as well within as without his burgh?, 
must have referred to Inverurie in his expression, burgos nostros, which by usage was 
applied only to royal burghs. 

The date of Inverurie as a royal burgh is, however, evidently higher, for, before 
1 1 95, David, Earl of Huntingdon, bestowed, along with the tithes of his lands in 
Inverurie, unum toftum in burgo de Inverthurin. In the charter of confirmation, tofts in 
other towns of Scotland — Stirling, Forfar, and Montrose, &c. — undoubtedly royal burghs 
at that time — are recorded in exactly the same manner ; but these, being all gifts, not 
of David, but of King William, his brother, the burghs are called burga sua, except 
Inverkeithing — in which the toft was bestowed by "Robert of Lundores," the king's son; 
and in that case the place, though a burgh of David I., is called simply burgum de 
Inverkeithin, as Inverurie is called burgum de Inverthurin. The inference seems 
unavoidable that Inverurie had been then a burgh of the same rank with the others. 

The interesting patch of land which gave occasion to the naming of Inverurie by 
its title of burgh, we can pretty confidently identify. The toft appears again in 1600, 
in a charter by James VI., erecting a temporal lordship of Lindores, out of the abbey 
possessions, after the Reformation. The description given in that document is " a house 
with a small garden, and a fishing boat at Futtey ". This description of the plot of 
ground exactly corresponds to a small patch, of half an acre, forming the south end of 
Urybank, and bearing the name of Fittie's Croft, and which stretches from the Ury to 

28 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

the " banks of old Don," along which the road to Keithhall now passes, but where the 
Don once flowed — converting the Ducat Haugh into an island. The fishing boat would 
be a natural appendage to the small establishment lying thus between the two rivers. 
The toft was upon the side of the King's highway, entering Inverurie from the south ; 
and was separated from the castle only by the churchyard and the green, frequently a 
■water-course, called KUliewalker. 

A higher antiquity than that of the document quoted, is traditionally claimed for the 
neighbouring burgh of Kintore. A toft in it was certainly given to Richard, Bishop of 
Moray, by William the Lion : and in the next two reigns, royal charters, dated at 
Kintore, bear evidence of the frequent presence in that neighbourhood of the Second 
and Third Alexanders — two monarchs under whom the country, for a long period, 
enjoyed much prosperity. 


The Novodamus of Queen Mary does not define the limits of the royalty. Local 
tradition makes it include the Davo hill, and extend to the burn of Polnar. The 
fishings on the Don, from that point, were said to have been given by a priest resident 
at the manse there, to the inhabitants of Inverurie, on the stipulation that a fast^day 
should be observed by them in memory of him. The burgh boundaries, in the absence 
of description by charter, must remain matter of inference ; yet all existing document- 
ary evidence on the point, preserved in the Spalding Club Collections and the Burgh 
Records of Inverurie, corroborates the accuracy of the tradition. 

Ko conclusion can be come to as to what lands are included within a royal burgh, 
from the nature of the tenure whereby they are held. The royal burgh of Kilrenny in 
Fife has always held not of the Crown, but of a subject, as superior — the family of the 
famous Cardinal Beaton. The lands within the royal burghs of the Garioch, belonging 
to the Crown in the reign of Robert I., were bestowed by him on his sister Christian 
and her husband (Sir Andrew Murray of Bothwell), in the same way as others outside 
the burgh were. They were described tanquam infra tanquam extra burgos nostros," 
and were bestowed " as well in lordship as in demesne " — the burghs therefore holding 
neither the property nor the superiority of these lands. 

The superior of the Davo lands has never been the burgh, but the successors of Sir 
Andrew Murray's wife — Christian Bruce, Lady of the Garioch. Yet the " Kellands " 
had always been regarded as within the burgh ; and the earliest extant map of the 
royalty of Inverurie, of date 1795, exhibits the eastern face of the Davo, at that time 
surrounded by a dyke, as included in it. King Robert's charter, granted to his sister, 
however, seems to determine, when collated with other documents, what was the extent 
of the royalty. The lands conveyed by his charter were ,: those which were held of 
the Kings of Scotland by David, Earl of Huntingdon". 

What were Earl David's lands in Inverurie'! David II., in a missing charter, 

Limits of the Royalty. 29 

bestowed the lands and lordship of the Garioch, on Thomas, Earl of Mar— Christian 
Brace's °randson— in similar terms. The Davo of Inverurie was for centuries after the 
days of James I., much in the law courts of the country, forming a part of the Earldom 
of Mar, which was litigated between the Crown and subject claimants from the time of 
James II. to that of Queen Mary. 

James TV., in 1510, being in possession of the lands of the Earldom of Mar and 
Garioch, exchanged with John Leslie of Wardens, for the lands of Balcomy in Eife, the 
King's lands in the Garioch, including Inverurie, with the davach and mill (Inverury 
cum le Dav et molendirw ejusdem) " as the Earls of Mar, possessors of the said lands in 
remote times, possessed them freely ". What the Warderis lands in Inverurie were is 
well known. 

These lands, held of the Crown successively by David, Earl of the Garioch, the 
Earls of Mar and Lords of the Garioch, and Leslie of Warderis, are described in a 
contract of multures, of date a.d. 1600, "the said John Leslie's half daache lands and 
lands in the Stanners pertaining to the said half daache lands, as also the said John 
Leslie's other half daache lands of Inverury, called Ardtannies, with the rnilne, mill 
lands, and crofts of the same". The crofts are, in subsequent titles, called Cold wells 
and Eashieley, and they now occupy the space between the farm of Ardtannies and the 
burn of Polnar. 

Another document explains what David, Earl of Huntingdon, held as " lands of 
Inverurie," when, before 1195, he bestowed the tithes of his profits upon the recently 
founded Abbey of Lindores. A contract of teinds, entered into between the Magis- 
trates of Inverurie and Sir Thomas Crombie of Keninay, possessor of a tack of the 
teinds of Inverurie, which belonged to the Abbey of Lindores, and were leased in 1593, 
by Patrick, Commendator of Lindores, to Alexander Irvine of Drum, enumerates the 
teinds conveyed. They were those of " the town of Inverurie, lands thereof, milne 
lands and davach lands of the same, with the outsetts, pairts, and pendicles ". The 
holder of the lease, Sir Thomas Crombie, alienated in 1633, the teinds of Ardtannies, 
as having formed part of the teinds thus described. 

It is hence evident that the lands held in Inverurie by David, Earl of Huntingdon, 
when he bestowed a toft in the burgh of Inverthurin upon the Abbey of Lindores, 
along with the " tenths of all his profits," were the same as Leslie of Wardes possessed 
in 1600, and which are now known as the Davo, Ardtannies, Coldwells, and Eashieley, 
and which Robert I.'s charter to "Andrew of Moray" included, when he described his 
gifts as lands within, as well as lands without, the royal burghs. 

A much later document bearing on the extent of the Burgh of Inverurie, is the Poll 
Book of Aberdeenshire, a record of the taxable persons in the county, made up by 
commissioners appointed in every parish, and revised and examined by a quorum of the 
Commissioners of Supply, and attested by them, 1st April, 1696. The list of persons 
in Inverurie was taken up by "John Ferguson, Bailzie of Inverurie, and George 

30 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Ferguson, his son, clerk and collector (of the tax levied) nominat be him for that 
effect". The localities in which the individuals registered had their property, are 
given in succession. Under the head " Burgh of Inverury," are comprehended " The 
town of Inverury, their proportion of valued rent " ; " Alexander Mitchell, at the Milne 
of Artannies ; and " Andrew Jaffray of Kingswalls, his valuation in the Artannies in 
Inverury paroche". 

This classifying of Ardtannies, under the head of the Burgh of Inverurie by a 
commissioner, who was at the time a magistrate of Inverurie, John Ferguson of Stone- 
house, and whose ancestors had lived for centuries in the burgh, seems to afford conclu- 
sive evidence of the opinion held at that time concerning the boundary of the royalty ; 
and it has to be noted that the list was revised and examined by a quorum of the 
Commissioners of Supply of Aberdeenshire. 

The Davo of Inverurie becomes interesting when we are able to associate it as part 
of the Begality lands of the Garioch, with a number of individuals and families pro- 
minent in Scottish history. Besides the Kellands and the Davo hill, extending from 
the west boundary of the Upper Roods to the Polnar burn and the Garioch Coroner and 
Forester's lands of Blackball, those lands included patches here and there over the 
Boods and Haughs of Inverurie, They are discovered in boundary descriptions con- 
tained in dispositions of Boods and Common Lands, and are called the lands of the 
Laird of Wardis ; and at an earlier date in the 15th century, when the Crown retained 
hold of the Earldom of the Garioch, are named the lands of the Lord Superior. The 
south part of the present glebe formed part of the Earldom lands, and the three Upper 
Boods, which have the Cuning Hill at their summit. The Cross of the burgh stood 
near to or at the bottom of these "three Davo Boods"; and royal proclamations of 
importance used to be made, with considerable fracture at times of drinking glasses, not 
only at the Cross, but afterwards at the Cuning Hill. The remarkable mound may 
have been a place associated with acts of the Superior from early times ; bearing 
perchance, a political sacredness from the tradition of the unfortunate monarch, Eth, 
having been buried within it. Among the burgh accounts for 1719 are included — 

Expenses at the King's Coronation — 

3 Gallons at the Cross 2 08 00 

11 Pints at the Tollbuith 1 02 00 

4 Pints at the Cuning Hill 08 00 


At the time when we may picture to ourselves the legate Galo " saining " himself 
with the De profundis exclamavi, as he ventured " into the depths of Scotland," as far 
as Aberdeen, in quest of his fees, the country was already well studded with burghs, 
each dominated by its castle, according to the manner of the period. The legate had 
other depths perhaps to fear in Scotland than those of its natural features. He had 

The Constables of Enrourie. 31 

overridden his commission in the way of cursing the Scots for ohstinacy shown to his 
authority in some particulars; and he might not be sure how much rougher the northern 
barons could be in their way than the heavy-handed Italian Knights of his native 
country, or the stiff barons of England, who had lately humbled the over-good Christian 
King John at Runnymede. 

His alarmed visit was made in the middle of the three prosperous reigns of "William 
I., and his son, and grandson, the two last Alexanders. The country was at that time 
more wealthy than it ever was afterwards until the union of the kingdoms; prosperous 
enough to appreciate the secular pains and penalties of a papal interdict. When 
England was greatly emptied of money, and Richard had to turn into treasure most of 
the gold and silver vessels to be found in the country, leaving sacred utensils only to 
eveTy third parish, William the Lion was able to give him a sum equal to £100,000 
sterling now; and later was ready to provide £150,000 as dowry to his own two 
daughters, while the nobles offered to add £100,000, and the burghs £60,000. 

The three reigns coincided very much with the period of the Constables of Enrourie, 
covering about a century. South born landholders imparted a Norman flavour to the 
society of the time. If, as the best historians say, a castle was necessary to every 
burgh, doubtless a faithful and potent Constable was expedient in every castle. "We 
find no reference to the Castle of Inverurie after the reign of Alexander the Third. 
Its constables noticed in history were Malcolm, the son of Bartolf, long the contem- 
porary of William the Lion ; Norman, his son, who was Earl David's constable under 
William and Earl John's under Alexander II. ; and Norino, who, after his father's 
long tenure of office, was Constable under Isabel de Bruce, the great-grandmother of 
Eobert the king. 

We can fill up the history of the Garioch under Malcolm, the first Constable, only 
with what the ecclesiastical topography of the period leads us to infer as to civil events; 
and with the preparation which the Earl of the Garioch was making for the crusade 
under Richard Cceur de Lion, in which Malcolm's second son, also named Malcolm, 
accompanied David, but not to return, as the Earl himself did, although through sin- 
gular misfortunes. Malcolm, Constable, appears as a witness to charters of David I, 

Some lands in Rayne, known by their present names, had already passed through 
two or three different hands. Rothmaise and Lintush (then called Leydintoschach) were 
become private property in a family claiming descent from an ancestor who had borne 
the primitive form of name, Adam of Rane. The whole parish had belonged since 
Malcolm IV. 's time to the Bishop of Aberdeen, who had disponed part of it to the 
Abbey of Melrose. Laurence the Abbot, between 1175 and 1178, disponed a half 
carucate, between the church of St. Andrew of Rane and Rothemas, to Robert, the son 
of Hugh, the son of Spileman. These are the earliest properties recognisable by their 
present names in the Garioch, along with Ledingham and Malinside in Culsalmond. 

32 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Others come into notice soon after ; one of the earliest being the Barony of Caskieben, 
the eastward neighbour of the Burgh of Inverurie. 

Before Earl David set out for the Holy land, he made preparations for endowing 
his Abbey of Lindores, buying up for that purpose tithes and customs — a convenient 
form of ecclesiastical revenue. He purchased from Matthew, Bishop of Aberdeen, the 
tithes of Durnach, Rothkes (probably another reading of Rothael), Munkegyn, Fyntrach, 
and Bourdyn. The price was two carucates of land in Kelalemunde, a possession which 
had afterwards an interesting history. It was, under the name of Ardlar in Kenneth- 
mont, mortified by the famous Gavin Dunbar, Bishop of Aberdeen, in 1529, to the 
town of Aberdeen, for the maintenance of the Bridge of Dee, which the Bishop had 
built under the architectural gui&ance of an accomplished rector of Kinkell, Alexander 

"With these tithes and customs, and those of his lands in the Earldom of the 
Garioch, as well as with large revenues from the counties of Fife, Perth, Stirling, and 
Forfar, David founded the Abbey of Lindores ; the earliest extant charters of which 
bring first into historical view the Kirk of Inverurie. When the Abbey was abolished, 
Badifurrow, in Inverurie parish, was among its possessions. Malcolm may be con- 
jectured to have joined his royal master in contributing to the establishment of the 
Abbey that pretty braeside, now called Manar, out of his lands of Knockinglews, 
especially as it included the spot on which the Kirk of Rothael, or Inverurie stood. 
Such a gift would be a likely votive offering for the safety of his son, who followed 
David to the Holy Land. 

The King of Scotland did not join Richard of England and Philip of France in 
their crusade. "William had paid to the English King, eager to provide funds for it, 
10,000 merks, in exchange for the renunciation of the allegiance which he had been 
compelled, when a prisoner in England, to swear to Richard's father, Henry, and for 
the castles of Roxburgh, Berwick, and Edinburgh, which he had then resigned to the 
English King. David, it is said, could not bear that Scotland should be unrepre- 
sented in the holy war ; and he joined the English standard, with a few followers, as a 
volunteer. He did his admired friend Richard substantial service. Every one knows 
the romantic story of which he is made the hero in the novel of the Talisman. Sir - 
Kenneth of Scotland's companion, young Malcolm, does not appear in the imaginary tale 
there told of the treacherous overthrow of the standard of England, or we might have 
been able to trace to the hillsides of Knockinglews the sleuth-hound which the Prince 
left in charge of Richard's proud ensign when, against his better judgment and con- 
science, he was lured away to the tent of the Royal ladies by the coquettish reproach 
upon his gallantry made by Edith ; and we might have discovered in the gallant dog, 
and his vigorous practice upon the perfidious Conrad of Montserrat, the origin of the 
" grip fast " griffin, afterwards worn in coat armour by the brother of young Malcolm, oi 
his near descendants. 

The Constables of Enrourie 33 

Who were the burghers of Inverurie at that period when Malcolm had to preside 
over the dwellers upon its lands 1 We have not their names, but they doubtless com- 
prehended a proportion of the southern families introduced by the royal reformers of 
society, who so displeased the native race that David had to return in haste from war- 
like engagements in England on behalf of King Richard, to quell disturbances in the 
burghs, arising from the mixture of population. Inverurie may have been one of the 
internally unquiet burghs, as it sometimes was afterwards. The names of Lamberton, 
Bisset, Lindsay, Fleming, Ellis, Wallace, Boswell, Bruce, Andrews and Cumming, 
mostly in antique spellings, appear in the charters of David and his son, and Melvill, 
Pratt, Mowat, Cheyne, Randolf, Graham, Cambrun, and St. Clair, appear in the next 


Malcolm, the Constable, was an older man than his relation David, the Earl of 
the Garioch, and may well have been his tutor in knightly accomplishments ; and 
when David took up the cause of the Holy Sepulchre, the most honourable knightly 
enterprise possible according to the sentiment of the time, Malcolm the second son of 
the Constable, doubtless sought to follow the royal Earl, and his little handful of 
knights, as the most ambitious desire then to be realised by knightly youth. 

"Norman the son of Malcolm," the second known Constable of Enroury, had a 
long lease of office. His memory seems to have been cherished in the family, as his 
name became a favourite one among his descendants, several of whom made the name 
of Norman Leslie an honourable one. The estate of Eothie Norman may well enough 
date from his time, neighbouring lands being already known by their present names 
— e.g., Auchterless and Frendraucht. The important holder of the Earldom castle was 
a man of no small responsibility, and not free from anxious duties during his master's 
absence. The picture we have of David's knightly armour may help us to imagine 
the style of Norman, the Constable, issuing from his weU-moated hold on some mission 
of taking order. The gonfalon of the Constables would show the griffin, instead of 
their lord's emblem of the rose. 

A document dated after Earl David's return from the Holy Land, exhibits one 
of the phases of social life at the time, which David's own Venetian experience illus- 
trates. Serfdom was an institution of Celtic life in Scotland then, as much as it was of 
Norman and Saxon England, where the Gurths and Wambas of opulent households 
were equally an appendage of the soil with its herds of deer. About 1200, " David the 
brother of the King of Scotland, made over to G. Earl of Mar, Gillecriste, the son of 
Gillekucongal, and the two GiUecristes, and Gillenema, and Gillemarte". The Constable 
Norman is a witness to that deed, as he likewise was to the final charter by which David, 
two or three years afterwards, endowed the Abbey of Lindores. In the earlier years of 
his office— before 20th August, 1199— Norman had witnessed a charter by Matthew, 
Bishop of Aberdeen, establishing the Hospital of St. Peter in Old Aberdeen, which is 
commemorated in the local name of the Spital. Among the witnesses was " Gille- 


34 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

christ, Earl of Mar," probably the benefactor of Monymusk, and the owner of the serfs 
made over by Earl David; and also Archdeacon Simon, who officially was Parson of 
Rayne. The second Constable of Enrourie had to wife the daughter of Stewart of 

Norman outlived his great master, and was Constable under David's only surviving 
son, John, Earl of Huntingdon; who, succeeding his father before 1219, lived until 
1237. Norman received from Earl John a charter (without date) upon the Leslie 
lands held by his ancestors, with the exception of the Kirk of Leslie, which Norman, 
following the example of his patron and of his own family, bestowed upon the Abbey 
of Lindores. That charter is specially interesting in the history of Inverurie, in 
respect of another particular. It conveyed from the Earldom to Norman, the lands 
of Caskieben, which then appear for the first time in history. They were in the next 
century in the hands of Andrew de Garviach, from whom they descended to the John- 
stons, for centuries the chief family in the united parishes of Inverurie and Monkegy — 
" the gentle Johnstons " who, with their retainers, followed the Stuart Monarch to 
Flodden, where and also at the, to them, not less disastrous field of Pinkie or Mussel- 
burgh, in 1547, they suffered the loss of their chief, or leader. 

The third Constable of Enrourie, Norino, the son of Norman, was the repre- 
sentive of Earl John's younger sister, who, in some way, was Earl David's heir to the 
Garioch lands and lordship — Isabel de Bruce, whose great-grandson, the famous King 
of Scotland, laid the foundation of his authority and of the national independence 
by the battle of Inverurie. She was the wife of Eobert Bruce, Lord of Annandale, and 
his widow apparently before 1248 ; as in that year the King, Alexander II., " at the 
instance of Isabel de Bruiss and Eobert de Bruiss her son, gave to Norino, the Con- 
stable, the son of Norman, the lands of Leslie in free forest ". According to the family 
history of the Leslies, Norino was a principal officer in the Court of his liege lady. By 
his marriage with a Fifeshire heiress, he increased the connection of his house with that 
county, which at last attracted the Leslies to Fife, and gave their name to a parish, 
where the Earls of Rothes, chiefs of the name, long resided. The widowed Lady of 
the Garioch would, doubtless, have much dependence upon her Constable. Her son was 
a large holder of English lands, partly from David of Huntingdon, his grandfather. 
Like inany southern barons of Scotland, he much frequented the English Court, and 
had married into the family of the Earls of Gloucester. His son, the third Robert, was 
a friend and follower of Prince Edward, afterwards the unscrupulous oppressor of him- 
self and his celebrated son, and he accompanied the English prince to the holy wars 
under Louis IX. of France. His romantic marriage with the Countess of Carrick, 
after his return, has been already noticed. There was perhaps no idea when the 
fourth Robert, their son, was born, that he could become a competitor for the Scottish 
crown. The two kingdoms had been intended to be united by the marriage of the 
daughter of Alexander III. to Edward's son ; and it was by the disastrous death, first 

The Cundablen of Enrourie. 35 

of Alexander, and next of the destined bride of young Edward, that the family of 
Bruce was brought into its historic prominence. 

Inverurie had occasionally royal neighbours during the time of the second and 
third Constables. The royal forest of Kintore, lying west of the burgh in the hills now 
traversed by the Alford Valley Railway, seems to have been a favourite hunting ground. 
William the Lion, and his two immediate successors on the throne, were, with a courtly 
following of clergy and barons, repeatedly there; and all three executed charters at 
" Kintoir". Edward I. in his angry raid through Aberdeenshire, in 1296, was at Kyn- 
torre Manoir, on Friday, 20th July ; and Hall-forest only ceased, and that not entirely, 
to be a royal forest, when Eobert I. rewarded with a gift of it Sir Eobert Keith, the 
Marischal, for his faithful support of him and of his country's cause. It is far from 
unlikely that the Constable Norino had, at some time, in his castle-dwelling on the Bass, 
another illustrious man as his guest. Thomas of Erceldoune was a great traveller, 
and intimate in courtly circles ; and observation is much more likely than inspiration 
to have been the source of his utterance respecting the designs of the bonny water of 
Ury " to bear the Bass away ; " — a prophecy which Sir James Balfour, in his Collec- 
tions, calls a " foolysche old ryme which the inhabitants heir have alwayes in their 
mouthes ". 

In the time of the third Constable, the new constitution of parishes in the Garioch 
was arranged, that was rendered necessary by the wide erection of Abbeys, such as 
Lindores, holding most of the ecclesiastical revenues of the churches. The national 
policy of the time, and that which brought the third Alexander, while yet a youth, 
into severe conflict with the Roman Pontiff, was to secure, or defend, the liberties and 
amenities of the Church ; and possibly some national pressure made the Abbeys agree, 
in 1257, to an adequate provision for the service of the parishes, whose tithes they 
had absorbed. In that year Pope Alexander IV. ratified the following emoluments 
secured to the vicars in the Garioch by their superior Abbeys. (The merks may be 
rendered into ten times the same number of pounds sterling) : — 

Dournoch (Logydurno) by the Abbey of Lindores, 21 merks, the whole altarage 
(fees for particular masses) an acre of land for a manse next the church, three acres of 
land belonging to the Chapel of Eossochetis (Rosthivet 1) and a third part of a carucate 
of land then held by Richard the vicar. 

Leslie, by the Abbey of Lindores, 12 merks, the altarage, manse and kirklands, 
with half the teind sheaves of the town of Henry Johnston : 

Prameth (Premnay), by the Abbey of Lindores, 16 merks, the altarage, an acre of 
land for a manse next the church, with the teind sheaves of the land then cultivated of 
the town of Prameth, lying on the north side of the rivulet called the Gaudy, and with 
the brewhouse of Prameth : 

Inchemabayn (Insch), by the Abbey of Lindores, 20 merks, the altarage, an acre 

36 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

for a manse next the church, the teind sheaves of Drumrossie, and the third part of 
the teind sheaves of the town of Incheniabayn : 

Culsamuel (Culsalinond), by the Abbey of Lindores, 20 merks, the altarage, the 
manse next the church, the kirkland with its tithes, the tithe of the mill, the brew- 
house on the kirkland, and tbird part of the teind of Normanstown : 

Bethelny (Meldrum), by the Abbey of Arbroath, 15 merks, the altarage, 6 merks 
in teind sheaves upon the land in the parish then cultivated : 

Kynnakemund- (Kennethmont), by the Abbey of Lindores, 15 merks, an acre of 
land beside the church for a manse, the altarage, reserving thirty lambs (probably the 
name of a coin like the French money then called moutons) yearly to the abbot and 
convent : 

Eathmuryell (part of Insch), 12 merks, the altarage, a manse with two bovates of 
land and the great tithes of the then cultivated land of Eathmuryell : 

The provision for Inveroury, of which Munkegin was a chapel, both belonging to 
the Abbey of Lindores, was 33 merks, the altarage, the manse belonging to the church, 
and the tithes of the cultivated land of Cknockinglas (Conglass). 

The Abbeys and other centralising institutions of the Church were three hundred 
years afterwards condemned for their abuses. At the time of their institution, they were 
doubtless called into existence by the necessities of the time, in order to prevent abuses 
and as being the most promising means of securing desirable advantages. It is very 
probable that, in exchange for a considerable share of the tithes of the parishes be- 
stowed upon them, they secured the maintenance of a Christian ministry in places 
where powerful landholders would not have been either regular, or exact, in paying 
their allotted proportions of what was necessary for that object. Places of concen- 
trated learning and combined talent and united social influence, they came to discharge 
those functions in the commonwealth which were fulfilled by the great colleges and 
hospitals of later periods ; and they also anticipated the guilds of after-times in forming 
a counterpoise to the influence exercised in the State by the personal ambition of the 
sovereign, or the powerful nobles; while they also afforded a refuge, which modern 
times do not stand in need of, for the friendless, when the courts of justice were not 
strong enough to keep the powerful and unscrupulous in check. 

Fifteen years before the date of the Papal decree referred to above, Fetternear 
began its interesting ecclesiastical history. The town and church had belonged to the 
bishop of Aberdeen in 1157. Alexander II, in 1242, erected the lands of Brass and 
Fethyrner into a free forest to Bishop Balph and his successors. Fetternear after that 
became a favourite episcopal residence; and it passed into lay hands only at the 
Eeformation, when the last Eoman Catholic bishop, the accomplished but libertine 
George Gordon, brother of the Earl of Huntly, disponed it to William. Leslie of 
Balquhain ; who, as sub-sheriff of Aberdeen, had, with the aid of his personal retainers, 
preserved the cathedral from destruction by the Angus rioters, who came to reform 

The Constables of Enrourie. 37 

Aberdeen by fire and sword. William was parson of Fetternear in 1236, and John 
his vicar then and in 1242, when the king gave it to Bishop Ralph. They are the 
earliest priests of the Garioeh whom we know, except Hugh, who was the rector of 
Bourtie before 1199. 

In 1262, we come upon the first recorded vicar of Inverurie, Dominus Bicardus, 
who appears among the witnesses to a deed interesting for its association with Inver- 
urie, and with early Garioeh families. A dispute had arisen between the first Meldrum 
of Meldrum, Sir Bhilip de Melgdrum (husband of Agnes Cumyn, the Earl of Buchan's 
sister) on the one part, and the Abbey of Aberbrothock on the other, respecting the 
tithes of the parish of Bethelny, which had been given to the Abbey, by William 
Cumyn, first Earl of Buchan, the brother or uncle of Sir Fhilip's wife, and had been 
confirmed by Alexander II., 22nd February, 1221-2. The Bishop of Aberdeen, Bichard 
Fottock, an Englishman, had to decide the case. He held a court at " Inverhury," 
21st January, 1262 ; and his decreet was witnessed by Bichard, the vicar, by William 
Lamberton, rector of Turriff, Boger Stainforth, vicar of Banchory-terny, Thomas de 
Bennin, rector of the schools of Aberdeen, and Boger Sharcheburg official, the office 
held, at least in later times, by the parsons of Oyne. 

Where did the bishop hold his court ? Was the castle still standing, or did he 
summon the disputants to the kirk of Polnar, or to the Earldom manor of Ardtannies ? 
riding down the water side from his palace of Fethyrner, while the members of his 
chapter who attended, and the litigants, Sir Philip de Melgdrum, and the Procurator of 
Arbroath, rode to the place of trial up the Davo, and over the crown of the Corseman 
Hill ; where many a man rode afterwards, and some no further, as appears by the 
numerous tumuli left behind them. 

The schools of Aberdeen were evidently institutions of importance at that time 
The period was one of the most prosperous, socially, of Scottish history ; though close 
at hand was the long dark period of the struggle for national independence. It was in 
the year after this Inverurie Court was held, that King Alexander, aided by a 
providental storm, finally broke the power of the Danish invaders of Scotland in the 
Frith of Clyde, and inaugurated the subjugation of the Hebrides to the Scottish crown. 

It is in a charter of the same bishop that the lands of Glack first appear by name. 
The Aberdeen bishops had got the schyre and parish of Daviot from Malcolm the 
Maiden ; and Glack, Lethenty, and Fingask all are held by episcopal charters. In 
1272, the bishop gave a charter of Glack to Ade (Andrew) de Pilmure. His son Ade 
succeeded him, whose daughter Alice married Glaster of Eumgair. Murdoch Glaster, 
their son, was the first of the Glasters of Glack. 

The last of the Constables, Norino, was succeeded in his family estates before 
1282, by Norman de Leslie, the first who adopted the name of Leslie, one of the 
unfortunate magnates who had to succumb to Edward's pretensions to be Overlord of 
Scotland. He is said by Sir Robert Douglas to have married Elizabeth Leith of 

38 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Edingerack, the first name that appears of that long-descended Garioch family. In 
1282, Alexander III. gave Norman de Leslie a gift of the lands of Fythkill, now called 
Leslie, in Fife. It was the year in which Margaret the King's daughter was married to 
Eric, King of Norway, and these were the parents of the Maiden of Norway, through 
whose death the succession to the crown of Scotland opened up the long period of the 
Edward Wars, by which Scotland from a condition of great prosperity and affluence 
was plunged into penury. 


When Alexander, our King, was dead, 
That Scotland led in love and le (law) 
Away was sonse of ale and breid, 
And wine and wax, and game and glee ; 
Our gold was changed into lead, 
Christ born into virginitie — 
Oh succour Scotland and remede ! 
That sted is in peqjlexitie. 

The Garioch did not suffer in the more early disputes about the Scottish crown so 
much as did the districts further south. It became a prey to hostile armies chiefly 
after the last Eobert Bruce threw himself into the patriotic struggle, when the four- 
teenth century had opened, and the contest between him and Cuniyn, Earl of Buchan, 
followed the raids and taxations of Edward. 

Who was it that represented the Earl of Garioch during that distressed period 1 
The title does not appear in any known charters after Isabel, the second daughter of 
David of Huntingdon, possessed the dignity as her father's heir, on the death of her 
brother John. Wynton, however, mentions it in her line. Her son had a higher title 
open to his claims. The right of succession to the throne of Scotland — then vacant — 
lay among the representatives of the three daughters of David, Earl of Huntingdon and 
the Garioch. These were John Baliol, an English baron, grandson of the eldest ; — 
Eobert Bruce, Lord of Annandale, son of the second ; and Lord Hastings, also an 
English baron, son of the third daughter. 

Hastings proposed a division of the kingdom of Scotland among the three. The 
Scottish nobles rejected the ignominious suggestion, and resolved to submit the claims 
of Baliol and Bruce to the arbitration of Edward I. of England ; a wise and powerful 
prince, to whose son the Maiden of Norway, Queen of Scotland, was to have been 

The English King, however, had other views than to arbitrate. Since the time 
William the Lion had sworn allegiance to Henry, when deservedly in his toils, the 
English monarchs had never ceased trying to recover the position of Overlords of 
Scotland. Alexander III. married the daughter of the King Henry of his day when a 
boy ; and then and afterwards had to withstand renewed attempts to entangle him. 

The War of Independence. 39 

Edward, on being applied to by the Scottish lords, succeeded in frightening them into 
an admission of his claim to the lordship of Scotland. 

He asked the opinion of the lawyers of the University of Paris upon the rule of 
succession in the case, and they decided in favour of the son of the younger daughter in 
preference to the grandson of the elder. Edward told his English Council of the law 
thus enunciated, but he was warned against risking the selection of Bruce, and in the 
end made choice of John Baliol, his English vassal, as the candidate most likely to be 
amenable to his advice or control. Bruce quietly accepted this decision ; for his estates 
lay close to the English border, and he had married into the family of the Earls of 
Gloucester, who were afterwards to display faithful friendship to his grandson the 
famous Robert de Bruce, King of Scotland. 

Neither the second Robert Bruce, nor his son — the Crusader companion of 
Edward, and the second husband of the romantic Countess of Carrick — took much of 
active share in the national politics. 

The latter resigned the Earldom of Carrick, held in right of his wife, to their son, 
the fourth and greatest Robert, while the future King was yet a minor, and retired to 
England. He took no part in Baliol's revolt from Edward in 1297 ; and Baliol seques- 
trated his lordship of Ananderdale, as Wynton names it, giving it to John Cumyn, Earl 
of Buchan, afterwards the antagonist of King Robert at the battle of Inverurie. On 
the resignation of Baliol, the Bruce ventured to remind his old fellow-crusader Edward, 
of a promise, he believed he had from him of the Crown, but was met with the answer, 
" Have we nothing to do but to win kingdoms for you 1 " Probably well acquainted of 
old with Edward's temper and strength of will, he withdrew himself into a position of 
personal safety ; and Sir William "Wallace, of Elderslie, became the leader of the patriots 
until his tragical end, in 1305. 

It was not until after the new century had opened that Robert Bruce, the fourth, 
— always, it is said, more Scottish than his father — stung by what he saw and felt 
in England and at the same time in jeopardy by a traitorous act of Cumyn, Earl of 
Badenoch, resolved to throw himself into the cause of his country's independence. That 
was in 1306, only two years before he became so closely associated with the Garioch 
by the battle of Inverurie, in which he defeated John Cumyn, nephew of Baliol. 

The victory at Inverurie was the first event that imparted courage to Aberdeen- 
shire in the national cause. Before that success nothing appears but humiliating, 
though probably defensible, submission to Edward. The resident at Fetternear, Henry 
Cheyne, the bishop from 1282 to 1328, and Sir Norman Leslie, the head of the Leslies, 
but no longer the representative of the Earls of Garioch in Inverurie, encountered the 
hard lot of having, as prominent persons, to play a part in the difficult transactions 
with the English King, which filled up some years at the meeting of the centuries. 
They had to do what most of the Scottish magnates had to submit to, " jouk an' lat 
the jaw gang bye," but nevertheless seem to have been patriots at heart. 

40 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

The bishop was the third son of Francis Cheyne of Inverugie, by Isabel, daughter of 
John Ciimyn, Earl of Buchan. He removed the early Cathedral of Aberdeen, and began 
the present edifice when he was interrupted by the Edward wars. He had been a 
Privy Councillor to Alexander III., and in 1282, was one of the magnates who address- 
ed Edward I. on the project of marrying the youthful Queen to Prince Edward, 
afterwards the fugitive from Bannockburn. The two kingdoms were, at that time, 
socially ripe for the union which was projected, had the juvenile Queen Margaret, the 
Maiden of Norway, been spared to become Edward II. 'a queen, and mother to a King 
of all Britain. Upon her death, and the arbitration for the Crown thence arising, 
Bishop Henry Cheyne was appointed by John Baliol one of the assessors on his side, 
and succumbed to the overbearing power, the vultus instantis tyranni, of Edward I., 
who demanded, before he would enter on the business, to be acknowledged by the 
Scottish nobles as the Superior of Scotland. In 1296, after Baliol's rebellion against 
his acknowledged lord, the Bishop joined in admitting Edward's more insolent claim to 
be Proprietor of Scotland. At Aberdeen, he swore fealty to the English monarch, along 
with Sir Norman de Lesselyn, Sir Alexander Lamberton, Sir Gilbert de la Haye, Sir 
Hugh de la Hay, and Sir William Innes ; on which sad occasion Sir Norman appears 
jointly with other magnates agreeing to renounce the old Scottish league with France. 
The Scottish nobles were, as VVynton says of the whole country at the time, " sted in 
perplexitie". Most of them held as large possessions in England as in Scotland, and 
the claimants of the crown were in the same position. 

A month after those transactions at Aberdeen, Edward marched across the Garioch, 
but does not seem to have been at Inverurie. On Friday, 20th July, he proceeded 
from Aberdeen to Kintore — a Kyntorre manoir — next day to Lumphanan, and thence 
to Fyvie. On Sunday, 22nd July, he went to Banff — Baneff Chastel — and on Monday 
to Cullen — a Inverculen manoir — and on Tuesday was in the Enzie. Another ac- 
count makes him to have been at Kinkell on Friday, July 20, and at Fyvie next day. 
The " Kyntorre manoir " must have been Hall-forest, which stood on the high road 
from Aberdeen to the north, as Lumphanan was on that from the " Munth". The 
march was a remarkable one, deflecting from Kintore to Lumphanan, on the way to 

Edward's dotour to Lumphanan— which may have been occasioned by some infor- 
mation received from the west of Aberdeenshire — brings to mind what was a distinctive 
geographical feature of the north of Scotland from earliest recorded times until after 
the English wars. The country was always regarded as divided into north and south by 
" the Munth " ; and the highway still in use over the Cairn o' Mount formed then the 
principal passage into the northern part of the kingdom. The remains of lake dwellings 
in Loch Cannor, the pond barrows and erde houses in Kildrummy moor, and the colony 
of Flemings settled in the twelfth century at the springs of the Gadie, all afford evi- 
dence that industrial population abounded upon that line. Mr. Skene has recently 

The War of Independence. 41 

added farther proof, in shewing that the Devana of the Romans was near Ballater, 
where Loch Dawain still preserves the name of the primitive historical town. 

Sir "William "Wallace, Guardian of Scotland, the most disinterested of the Scottish 
patriots of the time, visited Fetternear the year after Edward's progress. He came 
north in the course of a series of rapid conquests during which he nearly expelled the 
English from the country, after the treachery practised upon him during truce at Ayr. 
He found Aberdeen deserted by Edward's forces. The name Wallace Tower, which 
attached to a portion of the House of Fetternear now removed, commemorates his short 
residence there. In the following year the last competition for the Scottish Crown, 
that between the Red Cumyn, Earl of Badenoch, nephew of Baliol, and Robert Bruce, 
grandson of Sir Robert Bruce, the first competitor, was begun ; and the Bishop of 
Aberdeen, who was Cumyn's relative, renounced his allegiance to Edward, espousing 
the cause of Bruce's opponent. On the success of Bruce, the Bishop was banished for 
a while by the new King ; who, however, assigned the episcopal revenues in the mean- 
time to the rebuilding of the Cathedral. 

Other early contemporaries of Bishop Cheyne were soon to have more to do with 
Inverurie and its neighbourhood through the future King. One of Alexander III.'s 
knights, Donald, Earl of Mar, the holder of wide lands in Scotland, and, through his 
wife, of some in England, had been, along with the Earl of Atholl, the most powerful 
supporter of the claim of Sir Robert Bruce, Lord of Annandale, to the crown, while the 
Cumyns, a very powerful family, supported Baliol. Earl Donald was one of Bruce's 
assessors, and, as such, submitted along with the assessors on both sides to allow the 
position of Overlord to Edward, when, at Upsettlington on the Tweed, he agreed only 
on that condition to arbitrate. Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, the future King, married 
Donald's daughter, Isabel, in 1291 or earlier; a political step probably, as he could have 
been only seventeen years of age at the time. The young lady's brother also became 
the husband of Bruce's sister, and ancestor of all the Lords of the Garioch. 

In the year 1291, in the interest of Sir Robert Bruce, Lord of Annandale, the 
Earl of Mar appealed, along with six Earls of Scotland, and the freemen of Moray, to 
Edward against the Wardens of Scotland — William Bishop of St. Andrews and Sir 
John Cumyn — because of their wasting and plundering lands and towns, and killing 
men, women, and boys. Earl Donald was summoned to London in 1294, to serve in 
the English war in Gascony, but in April, 1296, after Baliol's rebellion against Edward, 
he was in arms on the Scottish side. He was taken prisoner after the battle of Dunbar, 
and never left England free again ; and the English king, playing the hypocritical 
friend of Cumyn and Bruce separately, seems to have set himself to cultivate the Earl's 
son Gartney, the husband then, or afterwards, of Christian Bruce. 

Edward made Gartney and Bishop Henry his Sheriffs in Aberdeenshire, and 
possibly Gartney may have continued in that dignity until 1305, when Sir Norman 
Leslie held it. In 1297, Gartney and the Bishop received a letter of thanks from 


42 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Edward, for " suppression of the enormities perpetrated by malefactors " in Aberdeen- 
shire, and were ordered to go into Moray and Inverness to the same work, and to 
succour with all their power Fitz- Warren, Constable of the King's Castle of Urquhart 
on Loch Ness. The chief person named among those against whom Gartney had to 
succour the English soldier, was Andrew of Moray, whose son Sir Andrew Murray of 
Bothwell, thirty years after, married Gartney's own widow, and had with her as a 
bridal dower the Earldom lands of the Garioch, including the Davo lands (Ardtannies, 
&c.) of Inverurie, and the estates of Conglass and Bourtie. Andrew of Moray was a 
chief ally of Sir William Wallace, and fell in the battle of Stirling in 1297. His 
brother, Will, de Mureff, whom he succeeded, was one of those who had sworn fealty 
to Edward I. 

The Castle of Kildrummy, the style of which, exactly resembling the castles built 
by Edward I. in Wales, assigns it to the same period, had probably been built by 
Donald, or Gartney, on Edward's suggestion, during the disturbed years which succeeded 
the death of the Maiden of Norway. It was evidently through connection with the 
Mar family that it came into the Bruce's power. Donald, Earl of Mar, died after the 
midsummer of 1297, and Gartney his son apparently did not live beyond 1305. In 
that year Robert Bruce was summoned by Edward to surrender the castle to some one 
who should be answerable to the English King for the same. Bruce had been holding 
it, it is likely, as guardian of his own nephew, Gartney's son, Donald. 

The future king was by that time fairly entered upon his pursuit of the war of 
independence, and was become Edward's chief anxiety, who had brought him upon the 
field of competition for the crown, after a great disappointment in his design upon 
Scotland in 1 302. King Edward seems all along to have tried to sow dissension among 
the Scots as a means to securing his own ends ; and young Bruce was to be, like his 
grandfather, played off against both Wallace and Cumyn. 

The English King had overdone his encroaching policy in his treatment of King 
John Baliol; and. when Baliol resigned the Scottish crown, Edward found that he had 
lost the faction of Baliol in addition to that of Bruce. He had therefore to attempt 
fomenting their jealousy of each other so as to regain his lost ground. In the patriotic 
plans and undertakings of Wallace, which filled up much of the interregnum, Baliol's 
nearest relative, Cumyn, Earl of Badenoch, and Robert Bruce, had both taken active 
interest. Edward first endeavoured, and with some success, to induce both of them to 
suspect the Guardian of designs upon the crown ; and after he was disheartened into a 
temporary resignation of his position at the head of the Scottish patriots, King Edward 
attempted to undermine the confidence of the two heirs to the throne in each other. 

In 1300, Wallace went for a time to France, at the invitation of the French King, 
in order to train an army for that monarch, a five years' peace having been concluded 
between Scotland and England ; but he was shortly summoned back, to deal with a 
new state of affairs. The Earl of Carrick, believing himself befriended by Edward, was 

The War of Independence. 43 

subduing the south-west of Scotland, while Edward again overran the rest of the 
country ; when he carried off the national archives and the precious coronation-stone. 

In 1305, Wallace was betrayed into Edward's power, and vindictively executed at 
London, 23rd August of that year. Shortly after, Cumyn and Bruce, discovering in an 
interview that they were being made use of for the King of England's purposes, entered 
into a secret agreement that whichever of them could obtain the crown, the other would 
be content with being secured in his own estates. Cumyn basely revealed the paction to 
Edward, while Bruce was at the English Court ; and Edward let his suspicions of the 
Earl of Carrick so far escape him, that an English nobleman then present, Bruce's 
cousin, the Earl of Gloucester, warned the young man of his danger by sending him a 
purse and a pair of spurs. Bruce fled for refuge to his own domain at Lochmaben ; 
and probably it was about that time that he was summoned to surrender Kildrummy 
Castle. On the discovery of further treacherous proposals of Cumyn, Bobert Bruce 
and the "male siccar" Kirkpatrick, slaughtered his faithless competitor at the high 
altar of the kirk of Dumfries. 

It is interesting to the history of Inverurie to observe that one of the great an- 
cestors of the Keith family, Bobert Keith, was among the allies and followers of the 
patriot Wallace, when Guardian of Scotland, and afterwards faithfully supported young 
Bobert Bruce. 

Another associate of the Guardian is also connected by tradition with the Garioch. 
When Wallace was on his voyage to France, he encountered Thomas de Charteris, 
known as Sir Thomas de Longueville, who, with sixteen ships, was scouring the North 
Sea as a pirate. Longueville boarded AVallace's ship ; but was overmastered by the 
latter. He became an attached follower of his conqueror. It was LongueviEe who 
brought to Bruce, in Galloway, the news of the betrayal and death of Wallace in 1305 ; 
and he thenceforth attached himself to the interests of the future King. Longueville's 
grave is traditionally said to be in the kirkyard of Bourtie ; and he chose the spot him- 
self by shooting an arrow from the hill of Lawellside. Tradition also connects Longue- 
ville with the Castle of Midrnar, where Wallace is said to have given him a hunting 

In 1306, the decided step of the King's coronation followed a few early successes 
obtained in Galloway; some robes of state having been hastily inprovised, and one or 
two representatives of the families hereditarily officiating in that office in Scotland 
having been quickly assembled together at Scone, 29th March, 1306. The royal rite 
only began a long period of almost fugitive life to the young monarch. The small 
party of nobles at the King's precipitate coronation included his brother Edward Bruce, 
the king's nephew Bandolph, the Earls of Lennox and Atholl, Hugh de la Hay, Sir 
David de Berclay, and Sir Christopher Seton, who was then married to Gartney, Earl 
of Mar's widow, the King's sister, the Lady Christian, and soon thereafter left her a 
widow for a second time. 

44 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

"Wynton describes the distemper of Edward at the successes of the Scots — 
He was kobbyd in his crap (waspish of stomach) 
As he had eaten an ettercap. 

Enraged at Brace's fortune, he sent Aymer de Valence into Scotland ; the young king 
imprudently challenged him to battle at Methven, and was totally routed. 

Bruce had then to take to the fastnesses of the neighbouring Grampians; whence, 
after a time, he and his followers emerged at Aberdeen in ragged condition, walking in 
shoes of raw hide which they had made for themselves. The queen and others of their 
ladies joined them there — a great solace, but a great addition to their cares. They had 
hastily to escape from Aberdeen, and make for the Western Isles and Ireland, taking 
their course by the Dee to the head of the Tay. Provision was obtained only by hunt- 
ing or fishing, in which pursuit the famous Douglas, Bruce's life-long friend, was the 
most expert. 

Barbour describes with feeling the state of the king's depressed fortunes during 

that time — 

Thus in the hillis livit he 

Till the maist pairt of his menyhe 

Was riven and rent : na schone they had 

But as they them of hidis made : 

Therfore they went till Aberdene, 

Where Nele the Brus came, and the queen, 

And other ladies far and faraud (fair and comely) 

Ilk ane for love of their husband, 

That for leal love and loyalty 

Wald partners of their panis be. 

The English thought to surprise Bruce in Aberdeen, but he was advised of their 

presence and the extent of their force. 

His men in hy (haste) he gert be dicht (made ready) 

And buskit of the toun to rid : 

The ladyis rode richt by his sid, 

Than to the hill they rode their way, 

Where great defalt of met had they. 

Bot worthy James of Douglass 

Ay travaland (labouring) and besy was 

For to purchas (procure) the ladyis met, 

And it on mony wis wald get ; 

For whiles he venesoun them brocht, 

And with his handis whiles he wrocht, 

Gynnis to tak geddis and salmounis, 

Troutis, elis, and als (also) menounis : 

And whiles they went to the foray ; 

And so their purchasing made they. 

Ilk man travalit for to get 

And purchas them that they micht et : 

But of all that evir they were 

There was not ane emang them there 

That to the ladyis profit was 

Mair than James of Douglas, 

And the king oft confort wes 

Throw his wit and besyness. 

On this maner tham governit they 

Till they come to the head of Tay. 

The War of Independence. 45 

The fatigue of the Deeside journey was found to be too great for the ladies of the 
party. Before he descended from the region of Braernar, Bruce sent Queen Isabel and 
his infant daughter, Marjory, his brother Neil, and John, Earl of Atholl, to Kildrummy 
Castle, where it is probable his sister Christian, Countess of Mar, and Donald, her in- 
fant son, had already gone, the Countess's then husband, Sir Christopher Seton, having 
after the defeat of Methven, betaken himself to his own castle of Lochdoun in Ayrshire. 
Seton was soon thereafter taken prisoner and executed. The King's other friends, 
mentioned above as having been at bis coronation at Scone, except Sir James Douglas, 
were taken at the fatal battle of Methven, and carried prisoners to England. 

The whole western coasts of Galloway and Lorn, inhabited by the adherents of 
the Cumyn, were in arms against Bruce. His brother Edward escaped to Ireland, 
from which he afterwards brought substantial help to the King ; wbo himself had 
to shift his quarters frequently. His wanderings on the shores of Carrick and the 
opposite islands, and the episode of the Brooch of Lorn, belong to that period of the 
Bruce's fortunes. The good Sir James Douglas was his close attendant all through his 
wanderings ; leaving the King only when success again returned, to perform the famous 
exploit of recovering his own " Castle Dangerous " from De Valence. 

The King's low state of fortunes was in expressive contrast to the plenty that still 
prevailed in the land since the wealthy days of Alexander III. Wynton, writing a cen- 
tury after 1306, says : — 

In Scotland that time men micht see 

Of all kin vittal great plentie ; 

The gallon of wine in common price 

Passed not that time four pennies. 

For a pint now maun we pay 

As mickle near ilka day. 

The Earls of Leicester and Hereford were sent by Edward against the Castle of 
Kildrummy. It fell into their hands not by assault, but because one of the garrison 
had set fire to the magazine of provisions, and so occasioned the surrender. The Queen 
with her infant daughter, mother of Robert II., and the others had sought safety in 
flight. They went to Tain, and were surrendered there to the English. Young Nigel 
Bruce was tried and executed at Berwick. The Earl of Atholl, attempting escape by 
sea, was taken and carried to London, where he also suffered death as a traitor. The 
Queen, more valuable as a means of influencing Bruce, was carried to England, from 
whence her husband recovered her only after Bannockburn. The Countess of Mar, his 
sister, the future Lady of the Garioch, is said to bave been sent to a convent. Her son 
Donald, the infant Earl of Mar, was carried to Bristol Castle. He was afterwards placed 
to be brought up along with Edward, the heir to the throne, and he grew up, Englisb 
in his associations, and very much so in his feelings. 

Two years elapsed before fortune again began to show favour to the King of Scots. 
Edward, the great English King, died in 1307, and his son, the second Edward, proved 
to be unfit for the task bequeathed to him. In his patrimonial district, Bruce began to 

46 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

gain advantages so unaccountably, that Aymer de Valence, the English Warden of 

Scotland, became disgusted, and resigned his command. After a time the Earl of Eich- 

mond was sent against the Scots, and Bruce retired into the north ; where he met with 

little difficulty in subduing the country to himself. He besieged and demolished the 

Castle of Inverness, being probably unable to garrison it ; and turning southward, 

shortly after obtained his encouraging success in the battle of Inverurie. 

Edward was about to experience the quality of the Bruces, of which his father 

had been warned, when in the competition between King Eobert's grandfather and John 

Baliol, he announced to his Council that he preferred the claim of Bruce. Anthony de 

Beck, Bishop of Durham, one of his chief ministers, had private reasons for desiring 

Baliol's success, but he warned his master — 

Gif the Bruce the king sulci be 
Of Scotland, ware your royalty 
The kyng gyfe he bes of Scotland, 
Kepe welle your marches of England. 


We are indebted for what we know of King Eobert's proceedings at Inverurie to 
Barbour, the celebrated first historical poet of Scotland, a holder, in 1373, of offices of 
trust in the royal household and in the exchequer, but of interest in the history of 
the Garioch from his having been, as Archdeacon of Aberdeen, the parson of Eayne. 

After fortune began to favour the King again, a successful engagement with Sir 

Aymer de Valence, at Loudon Hill, put him in a position to assume the aggressive. 

Not long after that victory he " crossed the Munth to Inverurie," in better plight than 

when the ladies joined him at Aberdeen, after his former meeting with Sir Aymer. 

The romantic story of his change of fortunes immediately begins, though with a 

sufficient portion of troubles to bridge the transition. At Inverurie, 

There him took sic ane sickness, 
That put him to full hard distress ; 
He forbore baith drink and met, 
His men ua medicine eoulth get 
That ever micht the king avail. 

His brother, Sir Edward Bruce, was with him, and, deeming the plain not defensible 

with their meagre following, thought it expedient to remove the King to Slevach (in 

Drumblade), there to await his recovery. He was carried thither on a litter, but did 

not get long leave to rest. Upon learning the condition he was in, Cumyn, Earl of 

Buehan, with his nephew, Sir David of Brechin, and Sir John the Moubra, made 

harassing attacks upon the King's party, which, though repulsed, wearied the little 

band, and put them to great difficulties. 

They hed nothing for till eat 

But gif they travailit (laboured) it to get. 

This was efter the Martymes, 

When snaw had helit (covered) all the land. 

The Battle of Inverurie. 47 

Sir Edward resolved to shift quarters to Strathbogy. The King was again put in 

a litter, and in the face of the enemy, they marched out with him, armed and serried 

about him, Comyn not venturing to attack them. 

The earl and they that with him were 
Saw they buskit them to far (travel), 
And saw how with so little affray (fear) 
They held furth with the King their way, 
Keady to ricbt wha wald assail ; 
Their hartis all begouth to fail, 
And in peace let them pass their way, 
And till their housis hame went they. 

The royal party remained at Strathbogy until 

The King begouth to couer and ga, 
And syn their wais talc can they, 
Till Innerrowry straucht again, 
For they wald ly intill the plain 
The winter sesoun ; for vittale 
Intill the plain mioht not them fail. 

Cumyn, ignorant of th» King's whereabouts, determined to harry his Earldom of the 
Garioch. His allies and their followers, including an English party, were gathered to 
him at Slains — 

And were ane full great company 

Of men arrayit jolely. 

Till Aid Meldrom they held the way, 

And there with their men lodgit they 

Before Yhule even ane nicht but mair : 

Ane thousand, trow I, well there were. 

They lodgit them all there that nicht, 

And on the morn, when day was licht, 

The lord of Brechyn, Schir Davy, 

Is went toward Innerrowry 

To look gif he on ony wis 

Micht do skaith till his ennimyis. 

And till the end of Innerrowry 

He cam ridand so suddenly, 

That of the Kingis men he slew 

Ane part, and other sum them withdrew, 

And fled their way toward the king, 

That with the maist of his gadring 

On yhond halch (i.e., of Ardtanuies) down was then lyand. 

The circumstance of Bruce's finding a safe asylum in the Garioch and Strathbogy, 
while all Buchan was in the hand of his powerful enemy, is a picturesque link in the 
chain of historical associations, which mark out the two districts as immediate posses- 
sions of the Crown from the beginning of history. 

The monarch's resting place on the lands of Crichie and Ardtannies was his own. 
The dwellers upon it, whose ancestors had held themselves loyal to Earl David and his 
son, and their Constables, and had been the true liegemen of Isabel de Bruce and her 
son, the Lord of Annandale, it is agreeable to think of as keeping devoted feudal truth 
to the fugitive King, till he could come to his own again. Their obscurity of rank 
would, perhaps, shelter them from the notice of Edward, when the Bishop on one side 

Inverurie and the Earldom of the Gar loch. 

of them, and Sir Norman Leslie on another, and the Lamhertons, Bissets, and other 
barons of Aberdeenshire had to repair to Aberdeen, in 1296, to bow to his pretensions. 

The Kiug, in 1308, evidently knew that a safe-resting place awaited him in the 
indefensible valley ; and its topography still preserves a record of his tarrying there. 
" Bruce's Camp " is still pointed out on the hill of Crichie, — one of the estates of the 
Earldom of Garioch. " Bruce's Cave," in the face of a precipitous bank, across the Don 
from Ardtannies, where the river makes an elbow into the hill of Crichie between the 
Camp and " yonder haugh," would give him at any time a place of quick retreat, impos- 
sible to be approached by an enemy unseen. Near the road from Kintore to Inverurie, 
a long trench, eight feet deep, was known, about 1790, as " Bruce's Howe ". 

Who lay around the sick king in the deep secluded dell " the knowe of the deevi- 
lick's " — the place of the primitive cylindrical forts and of the arrow-head armoury — the 
rendezvous where a century after the encamping of Bruce, the local retainers of the Earl 
of Mar, it is likely, mustered before they went to win the battle of Harlaw 1 The good 
Douglas, who after the great king's death assumed as the remaining task of his life the 
conveying of the heart of Bruce to the Holy Sepulchre, was seldom absent from his 
monarch during his life. Family annals say that Sir Bobert Keith, the hereditary 
Marischal of Scotland, was with his master then, as well as throughout the whole of his 
previous adverse fortunes. The ancestor of the lords of Caskieben, Sir James de Gar- 
viach, who shortly after received from Bruce a grant of some lands in Dyce, probably 
earned the gift at Inverurie. Thomas de Longueville had before then transferred to 
Bruce the fealty and patriotism which his admired captain, Sir William Wallace, was no 
longer alive to be benefited by. Longueville's grave, as has been mentioned, is in the 
Kirkyard of Bourtie. If he selected his last resting-place by an arrow shot from 
Lawellside, he may have been sent there with a reserve force — a service for which the 
place and the man were both exactly suitable. 

The priest of Polnar Chapel, who had looked to sing the Christmas lauds on that 
Yule day, having the King for one of his flock, was to be otherwise employed hearing 
short shrift from some of them on the braesides of Boynds and Collyhill. In 1297, 
Dominus Thomas was Vicar of Inverury, and may still have been living in 1308. 
Bishop Henry Cheyne, who may have entertained Sir William Wallace at Fetternear, in 
1297, was doubtless absent from his palace at Christmas, 1308. He w T as of the Cumyn 
family and faction, and the King had disendowed him for a time, assigning his revenues 
to the building of his Cathedral at Old Aberdeen. 

The battle of Inverurie was to come before Yule day, close at hand though it was. 
The insolent attack of Sir David of Brechin fired the King's temper, and restored his 
circulation. He called for his horse : those about him represented that he was not 
" cowerit aneuch " yet to fight. He answered — 

This their boast has made me hale and fer (strong) ; 
and hastily marshalling his followers, he rode after his rash enemy, and, coming up with 

The Battle of Inverurie 49 

the body of Curayn's " thousand men " at Barra, inflicted a punishment upon them so 
signal as, with the rapid following up of it over, the Earldom of the Cumyn, 
produced the submission of the whole of the north, and was not forgotten for fifty years. 
The parson of Bayne goes on to describe, with relish, the important engagement, 
which was the necessary preparation for the great and successful effort at Bannockburn, 
fought five years afterwards by an undivided nation to recover its freedom : — 

The noble king ami his menylic, 
That micht well near seven hundreth be, 
Toward Aid Meldrom took their way, 
Where the earl and his menyhe lay. 
The discurrouris saw them cumand, 
With their banners to the wind wavand, 
And gaed to their lord speedily. 
That gart arm his men hastily, 
And them arrayit for battail : 
Behind them set they their power all, 
And made good semblance for to tieht, 
And they aba id niakaud great fair (show), 
Till that they near at meeting were ; 
Bot when they saw the nobill king 
Cum stoutly on, without stinting 
A little on bridle they them withdrew ; 
And the King, that them well knew 
That they were all discomfit near, 
Pressit on them with his banner, 
And they withdrew mar and mar. 
And when the small folk they had there 
Saw their lords withdraw them so, 
They turnit their backs all and to go, 
And fled all scalit here and there ; 
The lords that yhet together were, 
Saw that their small folk were fleeand 
And saw the King stoutly cumand, 
They wei - e ilk ane abesit so, 
That they the back gailf and to go : 
Ane litill stound sammyn held they, 
And syn ilk man has tane his way. 

Fell never men so foull mischance 
Efter so sturdy countenance ; 
For when the kingis company 
Saw that they fled foulely, 
They chasit them with all their main, 
And some they took and some was slain ; 
The remanant war fleand ay ; 
Wha had good horse gat best away. 

The King pursued the fugitives over the whole of Cumyn's Earldom. " He gart brin 
(burn) all Buchane," and that wide region thereafter contained but one family represen- 
tative of the race. The laird of Auchmaeoy, of that day, was a son of the factious Earl, 
but was loyal to the King. It is said that he, in consequence, had his estate secured to 
him ; but with the condition that he should relinquish the name of Cumyn. He adopted 
that of Buchan, and was the first of the long line of the Buchans of Auchmaeoy. 

Local tradition has it that in the battle of Inverurie the King received valuable 


50 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

support from a farmer, named Benzie, and his eleven sons ; and that he rewarded them 
by dividing the Inverurie lands among them. The story bears a strong family likeness 
to that told of the Hays of Luncarty and the plough-yoke. It was in Brace's timethat 
the magistrates of burghs began to be induced, by the Crown, to accept the lordshipof 
the common lands of the burghs, paying a modified feu-duty to the King, instead of 
having as formerly the King's bailie resident among them, collecting the dues from 
individual holders. Part of the common lands of Inverurie are called Twelfth Part 
Lands ; but there are also Sixteenths. 

The surname of Benzie or Bainzie, with alterations into Badyno, Badenocht, &c, 
was a common one among Inverurie proprietors in the next and succeeding centuries. 
Was farmer Bainzie the King's own tenant at Ardtannies 1 It would be interesting to 
find it so. A curious document, which will be noticaid more fully afterwards, presents 
us with another tenant, or perhaps feudal vassal, of the King's, doing him important 
service in the battle of Inverurie. It is a formal declaration, by an antiquarian of 
credit, that he had perused documentary evidence of facts connected with the Fergusons 
of Inverurie, now a wide-spread family. One writing bore that " Walter Fergus of 
Crichie received hospitably in his own house the great avenger of his country, King 
Robert Bruce ; and, with his three sons and dependents, in the memorable battle of 
Inverurie, in the year 1308, afforded ready and manly aid, on account of which distin- 
guished assistance King Robert gave him ample possessions of the adjacent lands of 

It is about the middle of the time of the great troubles that we find another of 
the few Inverurie individuals representative of that period. In 1297, at Fetternear, 
Dominus Thomas, vicar of Inverowry, witnessed a charter of Bishop Henry upon lands 
in Kinnethmont, which had passed through the hands of David of Huntingdon. They 
came into the family of Tatenal, and from them were afterwards acquired by Patrick 
of Rothnek (Rothnie ?). 

Of other surnames, with which we can people the neighbourhood during that 
generation, the following are some of the class selected as witnesses of important deeds : — 
About 1257, Alexander Durward, William Brechin, William Bysset, John Wallace, 
Gilbert Stirling, Thomas Benin; in 1259, Walter Balrodyn, Roger (vicar of Aberdeen), 
Alexander Rewburgh, Robert Russel, Alexander Rose, Eymer Maxwell. In 1273, a 
charter by Alexander Cumyn, Earl of Buchan, founding an almshouse at Turriff, 
gVanted at Kelly, was witnessed by Alan Durward, Reginald Cheyne, Andrew de Gar- 
viach, Philip de Melgdrum, Walter (rector of Fovem), Robert de Leslie (rector of Slains). 
The charter of Glack of the preceding year was witnessed by Walter of Blackwater, 
John Spaldyn, Robert Gleslogy, Farquhar Belcombe, Hugh Rossnett, William Lessel, 
Alexander Allardyce, Malcolm Balgowny, r.nd Duncan Merser. In 1297, Dominus 
Roger was vicar of Rossochetes-^apparently Rosehivet. 

The Rahman Rolls — lists of the signatures to the various documents belonging to 

The Battle of Inverurie. 51 

the affairs of Edward I. in Scotland — are the chief vouchers of family antiquity and 
importance for the end of that century, excepting the few families the heads of which 
were able or compelled to stand apart from the submitting majority*. The Rolls afford 
us some surnames connected with the Garioch or its neighbourhood: Hugo de Urre, may 
may have been ancestor of the Urries of Pitfichie, in Monymusk ; Robert le Falconer 
was an early chief of the Halkerton family, now Earls of Kintore : John de Elphing- 
ston's descendants possessed Glack two hundred years afterwards ; Patrick Skene, 
doubtless an early Skene of that Ilk, is a recorded name ; and Nicol de Preston bore a 
surname well known in Aberdeenshire afterwards. In Rayne, about 1300, Henry St. 
Michael acquired Lentush from the heirs of Adam of Rane. 

Sir David of Brechin was a nephew of Cumyn's. His father Henry, Lord of 
Brechin, was a natural son of David of Huntingdon. Sir David submitted to the King, 
who made him Constable in the room of his uncle, but had to deprive him afterwards 
of that dignified office. The victory of Inverurie in 1308-9, followed by the taking of 
the Castle of Forfar immediately afterwards, the Town of Perth in 1311, Roxburgk 
Castle in March, 1312, and Edinburgh Castle some days later, led the way to the 
crowning victory of Bannockburn in June, 1314. 

The battle of Inverurie was fought near the present Castle of Barra, in Bourtie 
parish, at the foot of the abrupt hill which is surmounted by the " Cumyn's Camp". A 
wood covered the site of the contest for long, and since the ground has been under the 
plough, numerous relics of the battle have been turned up. 

A memorial of the great national event exists in the neighbourhood in the name of 
" The King's Hill," with " the King's Burn," and " the King's Ford " at the base of it, 
which attaches to the long ridge upon which the Kirktown of Daviot stands. The 
eminence, which beginning about a mile from where the battle had been fought, stretches 
away in a north-westerly direction for a mile and a half, is a locality whereon the 
King may well have made his small following take up an advantageous position, when 
the enemy's superior numbers retired before his impetuous onset. 

The fortification, still distinct in its outlines, which has long been known as the 
Cumyn's Camp, is not likely to have been occupied by him on the occasion of the battle 
of Inverurie. Cumyn's was the attacking force, his head-quarters at the time being at 
Slains, — and his partizan, Sir David, was apparently ignorant of the King's presence at 
Inverurie, when he made the raid intended seemingly to ravage the King's Earldom of 
the Garioch. Three nearly parallel walls surround the spot except where a perpendi- 
cular piece of rock sufficiently protects it, and the entrance would appear to have 
been capable of strong defence. Steep declivities all around except at the gateway, 
must have made the camp difficult of assault, and it enclosed an area of three acres, 
sufficient to contain a considerable force. A Pictish fort may have first occupied the 
hill-head, but the remains of the fortification are so artistic as to suggest a more skilled 


Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

The Aid Meldrom of Barbour's poem must not be confounded with the village of 
Old Meldrum, which dates from 1640. It must have been a " farm town " like Auld 
Bourtie, which is on record at the date 1342. The name is an early, memorial of social 
progress ; being, it is likely, that of the chief place of the estate before it passed out of 
the hands of the Cumyns, Earls of Buchan. The sons of Sir Philip de Melgdrum, 
the first laird bearing that surname, had abandoned the original chief messuage for a 
new place of baronial residence more befitting the advanced tastes of their time. 

Chapter II. 


The Regality of the Garioch. — Its alienation and seizure. The Lords of the Garioch. — Aneient 
Earls of Mar — Domlinall in 1014, to Donald in 1332 — Elyne of Mar— Christian, Lady of the 
Garioch — Tliomas, Lord of the Garioch — Margaret, Lady of the Garioch— James, Lord of the 
Garioch — Isabel, Lady of the Garioch — Alexander Stewart, Lord of the Garioch — Usurpation ay 
the Croicn against Sir Robert Erskine — William, Earl of Orkney, Lord of the Garioch — Lords 
taken from the Royal Family — The Erskine Family — Sir Robert Erskine, Great Chamberlain — 
Abeyance of Erskine claims on the Regality. Lands and Families in the Garioch before 
Harlaw. — Leslie — Raync and Daviot — Ardlar — Ledingham and Mellinside — Caskieben — Coyn- 
glass — Rothmaise — Lentush — Adam ofRane — St. Miclmel — Newton, Threepland, and Bonnyton — 
Tillymorgan, Williamston, and Wrangham — Oync — HaysofErroll — Sir James Garviach, Cordyss 
— Irvine of Drum — Sir Robert Keith, Forest of Kintore — Hills of Kintore— Thanagc of Kintorc — 
Thaynston, Foullcrtoum — Glasgo-fm-est — Chalmers of Balnacraig, <Sx. — Caskieben lairds, Norino 
to Stephen the Clerk — Glack, Adam Pilmor to Murdoch Glaster — Regality gifts ; Knockinglass, 
Mcikle- Warders, Inveramsay, Balhaggardy, Boynds, Drumdornoch, Petskurry, Pctbey, Pettodry, 
New-lands — Andrew Bultergask to Sir Thomas Erskine — Bourlie — The Goblaugh and William 
of Melgdrum— John of Abernethie — Barclay of Kercow — Kemnay — Norman dc Leslie — Melville 
of Glcnbervie — Pitfithick and Balnerosk—The Abcrcrombics — Harthill and Pitmeden — Agulwr- 
tides, Aquhorsk, and Blairdaff — First Baron of Balquhain — The Leiths of Edingerrack— Mill of 
Folethrule and Badechash — Lethyndy — Mcldrum — Philip dc Melgdrum to William Seton — Fyvie 
— Reginald Le Cheyne to Henry Preston — Byseihe of Lessendrum — Slrachan of Glcnkindie. His- 
torical Events. — King Robert — Settlements — Fortunes of Christian Bruce — Sir Andrew Murray 
— Donald, Earl of Mar — Invasion of Edward Baliol — Battle of Dupplin— Defence of Kildrummy 
Castle — Rescue by Sir Andrew — Siege of Dundarg — Foundation of the Chapel of the Garioch — 
Sufferings of the people — Local lairds and priests — David II. 's hostages — Leading public men 
— Provost William Leith — The Bell " Lowric " — His Sons, John and Laurence — Sir Norman de 
Leslie — Sir Robert Erskine — "Lang Jonnic More " — William Douglas — Thomas Earl of Mar — 
His English connection — Stephen the Clerk, Secretary to the Earl of Mar — Troubles of King 
David's reign— Sir Robert Erskine, arbiter of the Throne — The husbands of Margaret, Lady of 
(lie Garioch — Her Son, James of Douglas — Otterburn — Douglas and Percy — Priest Lundy — 
Rolf Percy's Ransom— The feeht at Bourty — Isabel of Douglas — Death of her husband, and 
seizure of her castle — Marriage to Alexander Stewart. Ecclesiastical Events. — Wild manners 
— Endowments of elutplains in the chapel of the Blessed Virgin of the Garioch — Arclideacon 


tHE period between the battles of Inverurie and Harlaw comprehended the last 
twenty-one years of the reign of Robert Bruce ; also the time of David II. 
who came to the throne a child, spent most of his life a captive in England, 
and was always a weak monarch ; and the reigns of the second and third Roberts, 

•54 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

during each of which last there was practically a regency under the Earl of Fife, 
afterwards Duke of Albany, the son of Robert II. Eobert II. was past the prime 
of life when he became King, and, though as Steward he had ruled with vigour, he 
latterly became so indolent that the Estates forced him to delegate the royal authority to 
his second son. The Earl was an unscrupulous man, and when his elder brother John 
came to the throne, assuming the title of Eobert III., had little difficulty in intriguing 
to keep the reins of power still in his own hand ; and, for the purpose of continuing to 
retain them, was even suspected of having compassed the murder of David, Duke of 
Rothesay, the eldest son of Eobert III. Albany continued regent after the death of 
Eobert III. in 1406 — James, the heir to the throne, being in captivity in England. His 
son, Murdac, succeeded him in the regency, and when King James managed to regain 
his authority, suffered death as a traitor — doubtless incurring the vengeance entailed by 
his father's conduct. 

In the local history the period comprised in those reigns nearly coincided with 
the duration of the original Eegality of the Garioch, as King Robert established it in 
place of the ancient Earldom, which had reverted to the crown by the King himself 
having been Earl. The Eegality of the Garioch was afterwards seized by the Crown, 
along with the Earldom of Mar, in consequence of a compact with Alexander Stewart, 
the victor of Harlaw, the husband of Isabel of Douglas, last heir of her line as Countess 
of Mar, and Lady of the Garioch. 

The Erskines, who were alleged to be the legitimate heirs to the honours held by the 
wife of Alexander Stewart, claimed the same unsuccessfully — until the occasion of the 
marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots, with Henry Lord Darnley, in July, 1565. It was in 
a.d. 1663, that the Scottish Earliament reappointed Inverurie as the place of the Courts 
of Eegality of the Garioch held by the Earl of Mar. The Earls of the royal family of 
Stuart had held their Eegality Courts at Dunnideer. 


The dignity of the Earldom, which had returned to the Crown by inheritance, 
King Eobert bestowed in the new form of a Lordship of Eegality, as a mark of affec- 
tion and reward, in 1326, upon his sister, Christian, widow of the Earl of Mar, then 
married to her third husband, Sir Andrew of Moray, the Fantelar, or Panetarius, of 
Scotland, possibly the steward of the royal household. The Earldom lands, including 
the Davo and Ardtannies of Inverurie, were bestowed at the same time upon Christian 
and her husband. There can have been no surviving issue of that union, as her descend- 
ants by her first husband, Gartney, Earl of Mar, became the Lords of the Garioch and 
superiors of the Inverurie and other lands of the Earldom, and are so to the present day. 

The illustrious succession of the earldom of Mar, before its junction with the Eoyal 
Earldom of the Garioch, may be briefly noted here. 

The Lords of the Garioch. . 55 

The Irish Annals mention as having fallen at the battle of Clontarf, in 1014, 
Domhnall, son of Emkim, son of Cainigh, " Mormaor of Mar in Albion ". The first 
Scottish record of the house is that Eothrie, Eotheri, or Euadri, " called Earl Eotheri," 
gave consent to the foundation charter of Scone by Alexander I., in 1120, and was, in 
1124-27, witness to a charter by David I. As "Euadri, Mormaor of Mar," he wit- 
nessed a charter by Gartnait, Earl or Mormaor of Buchan, to the clerics of Deer in 11.32. 

An " Earl Morgund " appears in the charters of David I. and Malcolm the Maiden, 
between 1147 and 1154, and is referred to in 1183 as being then deceased. Between 
1 1 65 and 1171," Morgund Earl of Mar," gave the Church of St. Mahuluoche in Tarland 
in Cromar, to the canons of St. Andrews, and between 1153 and 1178 confirmed to 
them the Church of Migvie, previously granted to them by the Countess Agnes, his 
wife, who seems to have been countess in her own right. 

Gilchrist, Earl of Mar, appears in the records of "William the Lion's reign. Between 
1199 and 1207 he seems to have built the Priory of Monymusk, and endowed it with 
the Churches of St. Andrew of Alford', St. Marnan of Leochel, St. Wolock of Euthven, 
and Invernochty in Strathdon. He likewise gave the lands of Dolbethok and Fornathy 
to the of Monymusk before 1211. He contested the patronage of the Church 
of St. Marnan of Aberchirder with King William and Brice of Douglas, Bishop of 
Murray, and conveyed it to the monks at Arbroath, 

Duncan, son of Earl Morgund and Countess Agnes, became Earl between 1222 and 
1228. He confirmed several of the gifts of his parents ; but gave the Church of Logie- 
Euthven, which his predecessor, Gilchrist, had bestowed on Monymusk, to the canons 
of the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Machar of Aberdeen, and he left his body to be 
interred among his venerable fathers— the bishops buried there. He also gave to the 
canons of Monymusk the Church of St. Andrew of Kindrocht in Braemar. Duncan 
seems to have had several brothers. He was succeeded in the Earldom by his son 

Duncan's title to the earldom was contested before 1228, by Thomas DurwardT" 
claiming from his mother, of whom nothing is known, beyond the fact that she was 
wife of Malcolm of Lundin, and had made a grant to the Culdees of Monymusk of ten 
bolls of malt, and ten stones of cheese annually. Thomas Durward alleged the illegiti- 
macy of Morgund and Duncan, but says nothing about Gilchrist. The dispute was 
settled, and the deeds of agreement between the parties were among the national records 
in 1291, being then preserved in a small bag. Under the compromise, or settlement, 
Durward may have acquired in his mother's right his great possessions in Mar, extend- 
ing from Invercanny on the Dee to Alford on the Don, and from Coull on the west to 
Skene on the east. Thomas was Hostiarius or Doorward to the King, in David of 
Huntingdon's time. He was possibly the Durward that was in David's following 
at the siege of Acre. Before 1211, he gave the kirk of Kynernyn to the Abbey of 
Arbroath, by a charter witnessed by Earl David's son, Henry. 

56 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Earl Duncan's son, William, succeeded him before 1234. He was one of the great 
barons in charge of Scotch affairs in the reign of Alexander II., and was, at the instance 
of Henry III. of England, removed and substituted by Alan Durward, the son of 
Thomas Durward, the rival of Earl Duncan, but was restored before 1258. Alan, like 
his father, unsuccessfully claimed the Mar title. Earl William lived beyond March, 
1273, and was succeeded by his son, Donald, the father-in-law of King Eobert I. 

Earl Donald had an eventful life to lead. He was knighted by Alexander III. 
His first wife was Muriel, daughter of Malise, Earl of Strathearn, and of Marjory 
Itluschamp, daughter of the Baron of Wooler. After her death, 1291-92, he mar- 
ried Ellen, daughter of the Earl of Fife, getting a payment of forty shillings from 
that Earldom as part of her dowry, in 1293-5. In 1291, Donald of Mar, one of the 
seven Earls of Scotland, appealed to the King of England, with the freemen of Moray, 
against William, bishop of St. Andrews, and Sir John Cumyn, Wardens of Scot- 
land, in the interest of Eobert Bruce, Lord of Annandale ; whose grandson, 'Eobert 
Bruce, Earl of Carrick, afterwards King, married the Earl's daughter the Lady Isabel Mar. 
In the same year, Earl Donald swore fealty to Edward, King of England, as Over- 
lord of Scotland; and in 1294 went on summons to serve in Edward's wars in Gas- 
cony. In 1296 he, with his son Duncan, and others of the name of Mar, took oath 
of fealty to the English King. The extent of the ancient family at that time is indicated 
by the fact that his clan thus appearing with him were gathered from the counties of 
Aberdeen, Perth, Inverness, Fife, and Linlithgow. The Earl of Mar took the national 
side in Baliol's rebellion, and was captured by the English after the battle of Dunbar, 
in 1296. He seems to have remained in England as a subject of Edward, for, in 1297, 
he had leave to repair to Scotland with the Earl of Warren, to equip himself for Edward's 
wars in France. His engagement binding himself to serve the English King in that war 
as his liege lord is extant with his seal in the Cuphic character appended. In the same 
year, the Earl's son and successor Gartney, served King Edward in Scotland. 

Gartney was Earl of Mar for a very brief period, during which little is known 
respecting him. He was the first husband of Christian Bruce, sister of King Eobert I. ; 
but left her a widow before a.d. 1306. 

The Lords of the Garioch, Earls of Mar, all descend from Gartney, Earl of Mar, 
and his wife Christian Bruce, who had two children, Donald and Elyne, the progenitors 
of two several lines of Earls of Mar. 

From Donald two Earls and two Countesses of Mar inherited, who were also by 
inheritance from Earl Donald's mother, Lady Christian Bruce, Lords and Ladies of the 
Garioch, bringing the line down to Isabel of Douglas, the wife of Alexander Stewart, 
who, after 1404, became Earl and Lord by marriage with her. 

The Lady Elyne of Mar was ancestress of the Erskine line, which now holds the 
combined dignities. In the 17th century, Sir George Johnston of that Hk, the first 
Baronet of Caskieben, as the heir and representative of the ancient Garviachs of Caskie- 

The Lords of the Gfari-och. 

ben, threatened to contest the right of the Erskines to the Earldom and Lordship, 
alleging that the Lady Elyne of Mar had been in her early years the wife of his — Sir 
George Johnston's — ancestor, Sir James de Garviach ; and had been the grandmother of 
Margaret de Garviach, the wife of Stephen de Johnston " the Clerk " ; Sir George 
Johnston, however, subsequently and by way of compromise departed from his conten- 
tion — no distinct evidence of the marriage of Sir James de Garviach with the Lady 
Elyne of Mar having been obtained. In reference to this descent, the Johnstons of that 
Ilk and Caskieben have borne, for generations bygone, and continue to the present day 
to carry — on the 2nd and 3rd quarters of their shield, — the arms of Mar, Earl of Mar, 
and of Garviach of Caskieben, composed or combined, together in one coat. 

The Lady Christian Bruce was in 1326 created Lady of the Garioch; and the lands 
of the King, within and without burghs in the Garioch, were conferred on her and her 
husband, Andrew of Moray, Knight, Pantelar of Scotland, and their heirs, as freely and 
fully as ever they were held of the Kings of Scotland by David, Earl of Huntingdon. 
There were apparently no heirs of that union. The memory of Sir Andrew's marriage 
was to be perpetuated by the erection of the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary of 
the Garioch, by his widow. The chapel was endowed and augmented by votive offer- 
ings, of the same character, in succeeding centuries ; and sometime before the Reforma- 
tion it had been increased to six chaplainries. 

The first Lady of the Garioch held the new dignity for about thirty years. She 
was succeeded therein by her grandson, Thomas, Earl of Mar, whose father Earl Donald 
(the Lady Christian Brace's only son), was slain in the disaster of Dupplin, in August, 
1332, leaving besides his son, the said Thomas Mar, Earl of Mar, the first Lord of the 
Garioch, a daughter, Lady Margaret Mar, who became Lady of the Garioch upon Earl 
Thomas her brother's decease. 

Thomas, who succeeded as 13th Earl of Mar, upon the death of his father in 1332, 
appears in charters as Lord of the Garioch in 1357. He died, without lawful issue, 
in or before 1377, and was the last in the direct male line of the old Earls bearing the 
Mar surname. 

Lady Margaret Mar, the sister of Thomas, Earl of Mar, and wife, first of William, 
Earl of Douglas, and afterwards of Sir John of Swinton, next held the Earldom of 
Mar and Regality of the Garioch. Her first husband enjoyed both her titles. Her 
second spouse, Sir John Swinton (killed at Homildon in 1402— by whom the Coun- 
tess Margaret had no issue,) was in her right designed " Dvminus de Marr " in the 
investitures which, as Lady of the Garioch, she had to grant. The Countess Margaret 
bore to her first husband a son, James, Earl of Douglas, the renowned antagonist of 
Henry Percy (Hotspur) and a daughter, Isabel, who died the wife of Alexander Stewart, 
the victor of Harlaw. Margaret, Lady of the Garioch, survived her celebrated son, 
Earl Douglas, until after 5th December, 1389, at which date she with her then husband, 
Sir John of Swinton, granted a bond in favour of William Douglas, illegitimate son 


58 Inverurie and the Earldom nf the Garioch. 

of her son James, Earl Douglas. She had conveyed her honours to her son before 

James appears on 27th July, 1388, designated Earl of Douglas and Mar, and Lord 
of Cavers and the Garioch. In 1385, he did not bear any titles except Douglas and 
Cavers and Liddesdale, which his father's death before September, 1384, had made his 
by succession. Within a few weeks of the date above alluded to — 27th July, 1388 — 
James, Earl of Douglas and Mar, fell on 19th August, 1388, at Otterburn, leaving no 
legitimate heir of his body. 

Lady Isabel Douglas, the only sister of Earl James, became, by the decease of her 
brother and mother, Countess of Mar and Lady of the Gavioch, or, as she was described 
sometimes, Countess of Mar and Garioch. She had before then become the spouse of 
Sir Malcolm Drummond, designed the brother of Eobert III., as having been the brother 
of the wife of that Monarch — the Queen A nnabella Drummond, and Sir Malcolm adopted 
his wife's titles by marital right, styling himself Lord of Mar and the Garioch. After 
Sir Malcolm Drummond died, in 1403, the Lady Isabel became the wife of Alexander 
Stewart, a natural son of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, the fourth son of King 
Eobert II. (but better known by the descriptive epithet, the Wolf of Badenoch). By 
solemn deed, dated in August, 1404, the Countess Isabel invested her second husband 
with all her titles and lands, and he continued to hold them after her death, which 
event took place before 10th February, 1408. 

By the death of Countess Isabel, the line of the surname of Mar holding the two 
honours of Mar and the Garioch came to an end, and all subsequent claimants have 
sought to prove .themselves heirs to her, through failure of heirs of her two marriages 
just specified. By a decision in the case of the Mar Peerage, pronounced 25th Feb., 
1875, by the House of Peers, the ancient Earldom or Mormaorship of Mar was assumed 
by the Judges to have terminated on the decease of Thomas, the 13th Earl, in or before 

Alexander Stewart retaining the dignities after his wife's decease, styled himself 
sometimes Earl and sometimes Lord of the Garioch. For some reason or other he 
appears towards the end of his extraordinary career to have entered into an agreement 
for the future disposal of the honours and lands with the King, James I., who was 
then about to bring relentless vengeance on the family of Stewart's uncle Albany, the 
principal author of the King's previous hardships. James confirmed the lands and titles 
of Mar and Garioch to Alexander Stewart and to his natural son Thomas, upon the con- 
dition that if both father and son should die without lawful heirs, the whole should 
revert to the Crown. Alexander Stewart died without leaving issue, in August 1435. 
The honours were claimed by Sir Eobert Erskine, but retained by the Crown in terms 
of the agreement with Alexander Stewart. Thomas Stewart predeceased his father. 

The first plea stated in bar of the claim of Robert Erskine, whom the proper court 
served heir of Isabel of Mar, was that all rights held by King James I. must be pre- 

77/c Lords of the Garioch. 59 

served for his son until the latter should attain majority. The Regality was apparently 
held during the minority of James II., by William, Earl of Orkney, Lord Sinclair, 
Great Chamberlain of Scotland, perhaps the most powerful nobleman of his time. In 
14-11, he as Lord of the Regality of the Garioch, confirmed a charter of Bourtie. In 
1453, the Queen of James II. was Lady of the Garioch, with Sir William Leslie of 
Balquhain for her bailie. In 1475, John, brother of James III., was Earl of Mar 
and Garioch. In 1482, Alexander, Duke of Albany, another brother, got a charter 
of the same lands and titles. In 1486, the king's third son, John Stewart, held the 
same in feu and heritage, his father acting as his tutor. 

In the next reign the Regality lands began to be alienated by the King. In 1507, 
part of them was given by James IV. to Alexander Elphinstone, son of Sir John 
Elphinstone, and afterwards, in 1509, more of them, including Kildrummy. The Mar 
Aisle in the kirkyard of Kildrummy is the tomb of the Lords Elphinstone, who 
bore, as a second title, that of Lord Kildrummy. In 1510, the King excambed all his 
lands in the Garioch with John Leslie of Wardes, for those of Balcomy, in Fife. From 
the hands of some feeble descendants of Wardes, the lands slipped bit by bit, and came 
at last to be held in superiority by the Erskines, the heirs of the original lords. 

The Erskiue family, with whose blood was mingled that of the Keiths, Marischals 
of Scotland, at the time when they became one of the representative families of the 
Garioch Earldom and that of Mar, dated from the reign of Alexander II. Sir Robert 
Erskine, the sixth of the line, who was Great Chamberlain of Scotland in 1350, died in 
1385, laird of Balhaggardy, Conglas, and Inveramsay. He was the father of Sir 
Thomas Erskine, whose second wife, Janet Keith, was daughter of Sir Edward Keith, 
Marischal of Scotland, and grand-daughter of Elyne of Mar by her husband, Sir John 
Menteith, Lord of Arran. On failure of the heirs of her brother Donald, the descend- 
ants of the Lady Elyne of Mar by Sir John Menteith, became, as was maintained by 
the Erskines, Earls of Mar and Lords of the Garioch. The Erskines had made pre- 
paration before Alexander Stewart's death to vindicate their claim. The Great Cham- 
berlain and his son entered into a compact, characteristic of the time, with the chief 
vassal of Mar, the Knight of Forbes, for the support of their right. The Sir Robert 
Erskine who claimed upon Stewart's decease, was grandson of the Chamberlain. 

Before the time of Queen Mary Stuart, when John, Lord Erskine, fifth in descent 
from Sir Robert, was acknowledged the rightful Earl of Mar and Lord of the Garioch, 
the feudal chiefs of Scotland had passed from the ancient position of local princes, 
wielding power only slightly limited by the regal authority, and were more like great 
landholders of later times. The Earl of Mar was able, however, when James VI. was 
King of Scotland, to outvie his monarch in personal splendour, as the story of the 
borrowed hose with the gilt clocks would indicate. In the last days of the Stuarts, 
the house came to the end of its greatness. The Earl, who raised the " standard of 
King James" in 1715, at Braemar, lowered his own permanently. Attainder and for- 

60 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

feiture made an end of the connection of the family with their wide lands between 
the Dee and the Don, and the titles merely were restored in the reign of George IV. 


The numerous charters on record bearing dates between the battles of Inverurie and 
Harlaw, exhibit with some fullness the vassalage acknowledging the local ride of the 
Lords and Ladies of the Garioch; and furnish a sort of ground plan of social life, in the 
district, within that century. 

The oldest estates in the Garioch recognisable under their present names were those 
alienated by the earlier members of the dynasty of Malcolm Canmore ; beginning with 
the lands of Leslie bestowed upon Bartolf, the ancestor of the Constables of Inverurie, 
and the great house descending from them, which, in the fourth generation, adopted 
Leslie as its family name. These lands evidently extended from the Foudland Hills to 
the Don, and were held in David of Huntingdon's time under his superiority. 

Malcolm the Maiden, the great-grandson of Canmore, a generous patron of the 
Church, bestowed on the See of Aberdeen the whole schyres, or parishes, of Eayne and 
Daviot, portions of which were, from time to time, erected by Episcopal charters into 
separate estates. 

The Earldom of the Garioch was instituted by Malcolm, in the person of his brother 
David, Earl of Huntingdon ; with, it is likely, the whole of the then unalienated royal 
possessions in the Garioch. 

The first Earl, by his gift of the land, afterwards known as Ardlar in Kinneth- 
rnont, to the Bishop of Aberdeen, and of Lodgavel and Malinch, now Ledingham and 
Mellinside in Culsalmond, to the Abbey of Lindores, gave origin to those individual 

His son John, the Scot, made Caskieben a separate estate, the property of Norino, 
the last Constable of Enrowrie. 

Knockinglass, afterwards Coynglass, appears, in 1257, in a Papal confirmation, in 
consequence of the tithes of its cultivated land having been secured as stipend to the 
Vicar of Enrowrie. Possibly from that destination, part of the lands came to be named 
Balhaggardy, which means the town of the priests. A part of Conglass bears the name 
of Priests' Leys. 

After the rich lands on Gadie, Ury, and Don, given to the ancestor of the Leslies, 
the braes of Eothmaise and their neighbourhood seem to have become desirable posses- 
sions. Ledingham and Mellinside, part of Earl David's gift to Lindores, lie there ; 
but at an earlier date than that gift, the Bishop of Aberdeen, who received the schyre of 
Bane from Malcolm the Maiden, had given a half carucate of land, lying between the 
kirk of St. Andrew of Bayne and Eothmaise, to the Abbey of Melrose ; and in 1175-8, 
Lawrence, the Abbot, had disponed it to Bobert, the son of Hugh, the son of SpUeman. 

Lands and Families in the Garioch before the Battle of Harlow. 61 

In 1304, Ledyntoscacii (Lentush) and Eothmaise were in their third descent, at 
least, when Duncan, the son of Helen, the daughter of the deceased Adam of Eane, sold 
them to Henry St. Michael. It was found by a court of inquest sitting in 1333 — which 
retoured Eeginald, a brother of Helen's, as heir of Adam his father, — that the lands had 
been in the family beyond the memory of man, and been held of the Bishop of Aber- 
deen ; Ledyntoscach for homage and suit of court by one suitor, and Eothmaise for a 
silver merk yearly, besides the thirteenth of the corns grown on either land, payable to 
the Mill of Eane. In 1335, Eothmaise and Ledyntoscach, with the Crosflat, were 
sold again to Henry St. Michael, by other members of the family. 

Newton, in Culsalmond, and Threepland and Bonnyton, in Eayne, appear in the 
same early period. In 1259, Eichard, Bishop of Aberdeen, and Thomas, Abbot of Lin- 
dores, fixed the bounds of a land called Threepland between the lands of Bondyngton, 
belonging to the Bishop, and the lands of Newton, belonging to the Abbot and convent. 
At the same period, Tillymorgan, Williamston, and Wrangham were part of the 
Lindores possessions ; which seem to have comprised most of Culsalmond, as the Aber- 
deen Bishopric did Eayne and Daviot. 

With the above exceptions, the Garioch estates first appear in charters after the 
accession of Eobert 1. Some may have changed their lords during his reign, in conse- 
quence of the necessities of the owners at that troubled period ; or, as was the case in 
Buchan, through Eoyal Acts rewarding faithful service, or punishing what would, after 
Bannockburn, be held to have been rebellion. 

The rolls of missing charters mention a charter by Eobert I. to Thomas Menzies, 
knight, of the lands of Unyn (Oyne) in the Garioch, and one by David II. of the lands 
of Ouyn to Archibald Weschell by resignation of Menzies of Fothergill. 

Sometime after Bannockburn, and before 1318, the King gave to his faithful 
follower, Gilbert de la Haye, the office of Constable of Scotland ; an office held before 
by Cumyn, Earl of Buchan ; and after his defeat and flight, by his nephew David of 
of Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl, who also forfeited it. The King had, before that time, 
given to Gilbert de la Haye, Cumyn's Castle of Slains. Haye's descendants, the Earls 
of Erroll, have held the office ever since. 

In 1316, another true adherent, Sir James Garviach — a direct ancestor of the 
Johnstons of Caskieben — received from the King the lands afterwards held for several 
generations by the Johnstons, viz., the Forest of Cordyce (in the parish of Dyce), under 
burden of the fifth part of a knight's service in the King's host, and the Scotch service, 
used and wont, appertaining thereto. 

It was some years later, viz., in 1324, that the King erected a lairdship for his 
attached armour-bearer, William de Irwyn, the founder of the family of Irvine of Drum. 
In 1306, Eobert Bruce, on leaving Galloway, to assert his right to the crown by public 
coronation, had taken with him the eldest son of Irwyn of Bonshaw as his personal 
attendant. The near descendants of the royal armour-bearer were faithful servants of 

62 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

the crown. One of them was the highly esteemed companion of the celebrated Earl of 
Mar, the victor at Harlaw. 

In the same year, 1324, the first charter was issued which connected the Marischals 
of Scotland, the Keith family, with the neighbourhood of the Garioch. Parliament 
had, -in 1320, bestowed upon the Marischal, Sir Robert Keith, a large portion of the 
estates of Cumyn, Earl of Buchan. In the latter year, the King gave him the Forest 
of Kintore, exclusive of the Park. A like exception was made in the charter of the 
Forest of Drum — the King being evidently fond of the chase, the associations of which 
during his wanderings in the Grampians and Lochaber after 1306, with Douglas, Keith, 
Hay, Irvine, and other close attendants, remained, it may be well believed, in his lasting 

At an earlier period than the gift of Hallforest, and it is likely in the King's neces- 
sitous days, the ancestor of the family of Hill — who are still living in Kintore — obtained 
a charter of a portion of land in that Burgh. The King had received from him needful 
or convenient hospitality, it is said. The charter, in some unknown manner, found its 
way into the vaults of the Advocate's Library, in Edinburgh. Mr. William Donald 
Hill, Provost of Kintore in 1872, is the lineal descendant of the original holder, and 
the land has never left the possession of the family. It now bears the name of 
King's Field. 

The parish of Kintore was apparently not in the Earldom of the Garioch, which 
probably did not extend beyond the Barony of Crichie ir. that direction. There was a 
Thanage, afterwards called a Barony, of Kintore, which included Thainston and some 
duties of the Kirks of Kinkell and Dyce, and also the lands of Glasgo-forest. ' David 
II. granted the Thanage to his sister Maude, along with the lands of Formartine. Half 
of both he afterwards gave to the Earl of Sutherland and his wife. The Thanage was, 
in 1375, given by Robert II. to John Dunbar, Earl of Moray, and his wife Marjory, the 
King's sister, and, in 1383, by another charter excepting the holding (tenandia) of 
Thaynston. Thaynston and Foullertown, with the duty of Kinkell and Dys, were 
by David II. bestowed upon William Chalmers. The same King gave a charter of 
Glasgo-le-forest, in the Thanedom of Kintore, to Robert Glen. 

The possession of Kintore by the family of Chalmers was of older date than the 
charter of David II. Balnacraig, a gift of Bruce's nephew Randolph, Earl of Moray, in 
1324-29 to Sir James de Garviach, was conveyed by his son Andrew de Garviach of 
Caskieben, in 1357, to Robert Chalmers of Kintore, and Elene de Garviach his 
wife, Sir James's sister. The above named William Chalmers, the son of Robert, was 
provost of Aberdeen in 1392, and for seven years thereafter; and his descendants 
continued persons of influence in the municipality, and also appear as lairds of Murtle 
and Cults on Deeside. Chalmers of Balbithan, in the sixteenth and seventeenth cen- 
turies may have been of the same line. 

Caskieben, which was bestowed by John, Earl of Huntingdon, before 1237, upon 

Lauds and Families in the Garioch before the Battle of Harlaw. 63 

Norino the Constable, re-appears in certified documents in 1357, when Andrew de 
Garviach possessed it. An historical annotator of the Bagman Roll says that it was 
possessed by a branch of the house of Mar, descended from Duncan fitz le Conte de Mar, 
a younger line of the Earldom. If Elyne of Mar, the wife of Sir James de Garviach, 
was of that younger line, the estate may have been resumed by Eobert I. in conse- 
quence of Sir Norman Leslie, Norino's son, having served under the English King, and 
been granted anew to his faithful adherent Sir James, whose son Andrew de Garviach 
possessed it in 1357. Andrew de Garviach had an only daughter and heiress, Mar- 
garet, from whose marriage with Stejjhen de Johnston, called the Clerk, sprung the 
family of Johnston of Caskieben, afterwards and still designated of That Ek. 

Kinbroun and Badechash, in the parish of Fyvie, and Johnston in the parish of 
Leslie, were bestowed, in April, 1380, by Andrew de Garviach upon his son-in-law and 
daughter ; and they inherited Caskieben after his decease. 

Glace: was held by the father of Ade of Filmor before 1294, when Henry, Bishop 
of Aberdeen, confirmed it to him. In 1381, Alice of Pilmor was proprietor; and in 
1418, Murdoch Glaster was served heir to Alice Pilmor, his mother, in that estate. 
The family of Glaster, who were lairds of Dunnottar in the Mearns, held Glack until 
the end of the fifteenth century ; when it appears in the hands of a long continuing 
Elphinstone family. 

The chief alienation of Garioch lands to a subject, in the period between the battles 
of Inverurie and Harlaw, was the bestowing by King Eobert I. of the lands of the 
Earldom then remaining in the crown upon his sister Dame Christian Bruce, and her 
husband, Sir Andrew Murray, in 1326. Several Garioch estates appear first in her 
charters, and others come into view in those issued by Thomas, 13th Earl of Mar, her 
grandson, the first Lord of the Garioch. 

Knockinglas (Conglass) first named in a Papal bull of 1257, was in the reign of 
David II. bestowed by Christian Bruce along with Meikle-Warders and Inveralmassie 
(Inveramsay) upon Andrew Buttergask, who in the same reign acquired several other 
lands in Aberdeenshire. He, or his father, had been Clerk of the Kitchen to Eobert I. ; 
and John Buttergask was Bailie of the Eegality in 1359, when these lands next 
appear, as possessed by the ancestor of the family of Erskine, who have ever since 
retained part of the lands then disponed to them. Thomas, Earl of Mar, Lord of the 
Garioch, by an undated charter which was confirmed by King David II. in 1357, 
bestowed upon Sir Eobert Erskine and Dame Christian Kethe, his spouse, the lands of 
Balehasirdy, Bundys (Boynds), Inuiralmusy, and Mill of Inuiralmusy, and half of 
Drumdornauche, Petskurry, Petbey, Pettochry (1 Pittodrie) and Newlandys. Sir 
Thomas Erskine, son of Sir Eobert, was laird at the time of Harlaw. 

The first dated charter of Garioch lands, by Christian Bruce, was upon Bourtie. 
A curious document of 1342 brings up the name of Old Bourty, as then in use ; as Old- 
meldrum was when the battle of Inverurie was fought in 1308. In 1342, on St. 

64 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Philip and St. James's Day, Friar Robert, master and warden of the alms of the House of 
Torphichen, in Scotland, confirmed a charter by Mathew, called Goblauch the Smith, to 
William of Melgdrum, the son of the deceased John of Melgdrum, lord of that ilk, of a 
certain amount of acres in the town which is called Auld Bouharty, which the same 
Mathew, very much impoverished by the vicissitudes of wars, had sold to the said 
William, greatest necessity compelling him for his relief and the support of his life. 
The two Lords of Melgdrum were descendants of Sir Philip, the brother-in-law of 
Cumyn, Earl of Buchan, whose plea anent the tithes of Bethelny was decided at 
Inverurie, by Bishop Richard Pottock in 1262. Sniiddy Croft may be the place of the 
Goblauch's ancient holding. A place called Smiddystones is also upon Auld Bourtie ; 
and a well, named the Hudd's Well, at the bottom of the Hudd's Field. On Thorn- 
ton, in the same parish, a Temple Croft had been part of the Torphichen or Knights- 
Templar lands. 

On 26th Aug., 1346, Christiana de Bruce, lady of the regality of the Garioch, gave 
a charter on the^haill lands of Bourtie to . . . Abernethie. (Minutes of Evidence 
in Mar Case, 1875.) 

On 20th Aug., 1387, Johne de Swyntoun, laird of that like, and Dame Margaret 
Mar, his spouse, Countess of Douglas and Mar, and ladie of the Garioche, gave a char- 
ter to Alex. Barclay &o. (Do., do.) 

The Precept of Sasine, in the possession of the Laird of Bourtie, contains a full 
description. It is issued at Kildrummy, 20th Aug., 1387, by John of Swinton, Lord of 
the same, and Margaret his wife, Countess of Douglas and Mar, and Lady of the 
Regality of the Garioch, to ... " our baillie," directing him to infeft Alexander 
Barclay, son of William Barclay of Kercow, in all the lands of Auld Bourty, and a 
third part of Petgovenie ; " which lands of Auld Bourty Margaret of Abernethy, nan 
vi out metu resigned in her widowhood, in plena curia cqmd Enverury tenia, and by 
letters of resignation in our presence at the castle of Kindrony, by staff and baton." 
Alexander Barclay had succeeded, in 1384, as heir to his brother John of Abernethy. 
His descendants continued to hold the lands of Bourtie until 1598 ; when they came, 
by purchase, into the hands of the family of Seton, influential in the Garioch at that 
period. The Barclays date, in Scotland, from about 1110, and four families were pro- 
minent in the time of William the Lion — two of the surname having held the office 
of Great Chamberlain. This ancient race came to Aberdeenshire in the same Saxon 
emigration which brought the Leslies, Gordons, and others, in the time of Princess 
Margaret. The first was John de Berkely, a younger son of Roger de Berkely, lord of 
Berkely Castle, in the time of the Conqueror. From John, the barons of Gartley or 
Garentully in the parish so named in Strathbogy (acquired by marriage), and the Bar- 
clays de Tolly both descended. The first Castle of Tolly had, it is said, the inscription 
"Sir Alexander Barclay of Tolly, fundator, decessit, a.d. 1136." 

The Barclays of Bourtie were the Barclays of Tolly. King Robert gave a charter 

Lauds and Families in the Garioch, before the Battle of Harlow. 65 

upon Towie to Alexander Barclay of Kerco. Kerco, or Kereow, is so like the spelling 
of Cracow, which might have been made at that time in Scotland, as to tempt the infer- 
ence that Alexander Barclay was an early example of what was common from Aber- 
deenshire in later times — emigration by enterprising young men to "push their fortunes" 
in Boland, at that period a prominent State in Europe. The Russian Prince Barclay de 
Tolly, of 1815, was descended from a humble family in Livonia, whose arms were those 
of Barclay of Tolly or Towie. William Barclay of Tolly, however, in 1385, signs him- 
self lord of Kereow, which cannot have meant the Polish capital. 

Kemnay is the Garioch estate next to Bourtie in ascertained chronological order of 
first appearance. From the Lord Chamberlain's accounts, it appears that the ward of the 
barony of Kemnay was, in 1348, bestowed by Robert, the Steward of Scotland, acting 
for the King, upon Norman de Leslie. At a later date, the estate belonged to the 
Melvilles of Glenbervie, Sheriffs of Kincardineshire. Andrew Melvyll of Camnay 
served as a Juryman in an inquest held in 1397, on which Andrew Tourryn of Foveran 
also served — an ancient Aberdeenshire family, now represented by the British Consul 
at the Hague. The estates of Kemnay and Glenbervie passed together from the Mel- 
villes to the Douglases in the sixteenth century. 

Pitfithick and Balnerosk, in the barony of Monymusk, in the time of Thomas, 
Earl of Mar, were given by charter of David II. to David Chalmers. They had been 
forfeited by Henry of Monymusk, one of a family which about 1300 were lords of the 
estate of Forglen, which passed from them to a Fraser and afterwards to Irvine of 

The Abercrombys, now styled of Birkenbog and Forglen, are descended from a race 
which appeared first in the Garioch in the period now reviewed. Nisbet holds the 
Garioch Abercrombys to have acquired their surname from Abercromby in Fife, and to 
have been proprietors of Harthill and Ardune as early as 1315, in virtue of a charter 
of Robert I. to Humphredus de Abercromby, probably bestowed as a reward of faithful 
allegiance. The charter is not quoted in the Spalding Club publications, which give the 
following particulars. Between 1345 and 1360 Alexander de Abercromby bought from 
Patrick Haye, son and heir of Roger Haye, part of the Halton of Ardhunyer in Oyne, 
with the mill and brewhouse ; one of the witnesses to the charter being John of Por- 
teristown (Portstown in Keith-hall, long a separate property). A century later, Hum- 
phrey Abercromby (Umfredus de Abercromby), had a royal charter on Harthill, Pit- 
medden, Pitmachy, with part of Halton of Ardovyn. The family continued in the roll 
of proprietors on Gadieside for two centuries; and until 1690 were lands also upon 

In the end of the 14th century, the Inverurie lands of Aqdhorthies, with the 
neighbouring properties of Aquhorsk and Blairdaff, first appear by name. They were 
disponed, in 1391, by Andrew Leslie of Leslie, with consent of Sir Norman Leslie, his 
son, in marriage portion to David de Abercromby and Margaret Leslie his wife, sister of 


66 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Andrew. David's descendants held Aquhorthies in whole or in part until 1688; when 
Francis Abercromby disponed the lands to Patrick, Count Leslie of Balquhain. 

The Balquhain family itself dates from the 14th century. Norman de Leslie's 
youngest brother, Sir George Leslie, first Baron of Balquhain, got a grant of Balquhain 
from his father ; and King David II. confirmed it by charter in 1 340, for his services 
during the reigns of Robert I. and David II. rendered against Edward II. and Edward 
Baliol ; the grant consisting of the lands of Balquhain, Syde, and Braco. Descend- 
ants of Norman have held Balquhain ever since — subject to many mutations as to 
extent during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 

The family of Leith have, with the exception of the Leslies, been the longest 
represented in the Garioch (some of that surname being still extensive proprietors) from 
at least the year 1359, and probably from a considerably earlier period. The wife of 
Sir Norman Leslie, Edward I.'s Sheriff of Aberdeen, is said, in Douglas' Peerage, to have 
been Elizabeth Leith of Edingerrack. 

In 1359, Thomas, Earl of Mar, Lord of the Garioch, gave a charter of Rothen- 
etk, Hareboggs, and Blackeboggs, with common pasture in the Earl's forest of Bench- 
ye, to William Leith, burgess of Aberdeen, for a silver penny of duty, to be paid on the 
feast of John the Baptist, at " our manor of Inuerowry," if asked for. The property 
of Drumrossie, in the parish of Insch, was, in 1369, sold to the same "William Leith, by 
Andrew Berkelay of Garnetuly — Earl Thomas confirming. 

Lands adjoining the Johnston lands of Kinbruyn and Badechash, in the barony of 
Rothienorman, viz., the Kirkland of Little Badochayse, in the " schyre " of Rane, were, 
in 1376, granted to Adam Pyngle, burgess of Aberdeen, by the Dean and chapter of 
Aberdeen in excambion, for the Mill of Folethrule, with the mill land and services due 
by the inhabitants of Badochayse and Folethblackwater (now Meikle Folia), where, in 
the same year, Pyngle and his wife Marjorie Blackvatyr, founded the Chapel of St. 

The roll of Garioch lands, of which we have existing records at dates anterior to 
the battle of Harlaw, terminates with a charter by the third and last rightful Lady of 
the Garioch. In 1395, the land of Lethyndy was leased by Malcolme of Dromonde, 
Lord of Mar and the Garioch (the brother of the Queen, and the unfortunate first hus- 
band of Isabel of Douglas, Countess of Mar and Lady of the Garioch) to Robert 
Bnrnard in Malingall, for four pounds a year, as long as the land should be in his hand 
by recognition from Paule Crab. That property passed afterwards into the hands of 
the Forbeses of Pitsligo. 

The estates of Meldrum and Fyvie lying immediately adjacent to the Garioch 
District, but within the boundary of Formartine, are of interest in a notice of the 
Garioch from their frequent and close connection with the history of that district. 

Philip de Melgdrum, the first of the conjoined name and estate (who held it by 
charter from his brother-in-law, William, the first Cumyn Earl of Buchan), was one of 

Hisforicial Events. 

the Justiciars of Scotland in 1252. Alexander de Melgdram is recorded in 1272. 
William de Melgdrum, son of John, both concerned in the purchase of the Bourtie 
blacksmith's small holding, was in the same embassy to England with Provost William 
Leith for the redemption of King David II., and had a charter of Meldrum from that 
monarch, 10th October, 1353. The estate came, in the reign of James I., to be the 
property of an heiress who, marrying William Seton, brother of Alexander Seton, first 
Earl of Huntly, gave origin to a long continued family of Setons of Meldrum. 

Fyvie, the principal seat of the Thanage of Formartine, was the property of Eeginald 
Le Chene about 1250. Edward of England, to whom Le Cheyne vowed allegiance, 
made the Castle a halting place in his hasty ride over Aberdeenshire, in 1296. A few 
years later, retribution followed by the Bruce making it a royal residence and a hunt- 
ing seat. Robert III. gave the estate to Sir James Lindsay, Dominus de Crawford et 
Buchan ; whose daughter, by her marriage, made Henry Preston its lord. He was one 
of the companions of James of Douglas at Otterburn, where the two Percies were taken; 
and the ransom of Ralph Percy was a Royal Charter of the lands granted to Henry 
Preston, Knight. 

The Preston tower of Fyvie Castle was built about 1400, and records the name 
which there was no son to perpetuate. Upon the death of Sir Henry Preston, his two 
daughters and co-heiresses divided their father's lands. One of them marrying a Mel- 
drum, had Fyvie as her portion, and the Meldrum Tower rose to commemorate the 
change. Her sister married a brother of Lord Forbes, and founded the Tolquhon family. 

Just outside the boundary of the Garioch, a family name of the fourteenth century, 
still attached to the same estate, appears among the witnesses to the Balkaggardy charter 
of 1357. It is that of Walter Bysethe of Lossyndrum (Lessendrum, in the Parish 
of Drumblade). 

Another witness to the Garioch charter was John de Strathachyn, the ancestor of 
the Strachans of Kemnay and Glenkindie of the seventeenth century. Adam Strachuen, 
probably his son, got Glenkenety from Thomas, Earl of Mar, in 1357 — Margaret, Adams' 
wife, being the Earl's kinswoman, as is specially set forth in the charter. 


The historical matter available for illustrating the state of society during the 
troubled century which intervened between the two important battles which were 
fought in the Garioch arranges itself chiefly about successive individuals; as we must 
expect to find to be the case in reviewing a time in which public interests were repre- 
sented by individuals rather than by communities. 

The great King occupied the throne himself for twenty-one years of the period. 
The acts of forfeiture which followed his bringing the War ' of Independence to a 
triumphant issue, though they changed the face of the District of Buchan, through 

68 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

replacing the extruded Cumyns by the loyal families of Hay and Keith, did not so 
affect the Garioch, or the adjacent districts of Strathbogie and Fonnartine. 

The bishop, Henry Cheyne, a nephew of Cumvn, was banished and in England, 
but the king assigned his forfeited revenues to the erection of the Cathedral of Aberdeen 
which the bishop had begun. Cheyne was no inferior patriot to the secular Lords, and 
the Hays, Leslies, and others along with whom he had sworn fealty to Edward I. 
After the battle of Inverurie, and before Bannockburn, he and all the other bishops of 
Scotland emitted a declaration of adherence to Eobert I., and renounced all other oaths 
as having been unjust and extorted, and we find him restored to his office before his 
death which event took place in 1328. 

The settlement of the King's faithful companions in distress, Sir Eobert Keith the 
Marischal, in Hallforest, and Sir James de Garviach, in Cordyce, and probably also in 
Caskieben, were local events of his reign. Sir James's descendants, the Johnstons of 
that Ilk and Caskieben, entertained the belief that the Lady Elyne Mar, the niece of the 
King, also rewarded Sir James with her hand, and that she only married Sir John 
Menteith after the death of Sir James de Garviach — her first husband. 

The last years of Bruce's reign were passed by him in the south part of Scotland, 
where he died at Cardross in the neighbourhood of his early Earldom of Carrick, 
leaving his successor a minor, and his kingdom not as yet trained in loyalty suffi- 
ciently for being ruled by such a sovereign as David in his manhood proved himself 
to be. 

Christian Bruce, Lady of the Garioch had, not only in her early matronhood, when 
her brother's fortunes were at the lowest, but also during much of her later years when 
her nephew David was king, led a life marked in a signal degree by events characteristic 
of the age which made the habits of a lady of rank resemble more those of a soldier 
than of a matron. She was from 1306 to 1314 a prisoner in England, and was for the 
second time a widow. Her marriage, twelve years afterwards, with Sir Andrew Murray — 
upon which occasion she was created by her brother, Lady of the Garioch, and endowed 
with all the lands he then possessed within that ancient appanage of the Crown — took 
place in an interval of what we may conceive to have been domestic comfort, but one 
which came to an end shortly after the King's death in 1329, by the renewal of national 

Sir Andrew Murray of Bothwell, the third husband of Christian Bruce, was perhaps 
the most distinguished Scotchman in a period of great men. He had learned the art of 
war, and the virtues of patriotism, as the follower of Sir William Wallace, and, after the 
great Protector perished, was the most unsurmountable obstacle presented in Scotland to 
"proud Edward's power". Sir Andrew in one of the emergencies of national danger 
which occurred in the minority of David II., was called upon, by the nobles, to take 
the office of Warden of Scotland. One of the first tasks he had to undertake in that 
capacity, was the rescue of his own heroic wife, from a danger indirectly caused by 

Hi dor Leal Events. __ 69 

the incompetence of her own son for the discharge of a great duty assigned to him by 
the nation. 

Of that son, Donald, twelth Earl of Mar, Christian had been destined to see little 
from his infancy. His fortunes were romantic. In 1306, he was with his mother 
among the fugitives from Kildrummy to Tain, two of whom — his uncle, Nigel Bruce, 
and his cousin, the Earl of Atholl — were taken and executed. The Queen and her 
daughter, and Christian Bruce, Countess of Mar, and her son Donald, then called an 
" infant, the son of the Earl of Mar " were retained as prisoners. He was committed to 
the charge of the Bishop of Chester to be detained in the Castle of Bristol ; but was, 
the same year, taken to be with the King in his own household, where his upbringing 
seems to have attached him strongly to Edward II. 

Earl Donald was exchanged in 1314, after the battle of Bannockburn, along with 
the Bishop of Glasgow (who had crowned Robert I.) and with the Queen, the Princess 
Marjory, and his mother, for Edward's brother-in-law, — the Earl of Hereford — and tra- 
velled with his relations as far as Newcastle, but would not go on to Scotland, and 
returned to Edward. He was Earl of Mar himself long before that time. He visited 
Scotland in 1319, for six months from July to December. 

In 1322, he fought against his own countrymen, under Edward II., at Bilard. In 
1326, he was keeper of his early prison, Bristol Castle. Next year, when Edward was 
deposed by the intrigues of his worthless queen, Earl Donald of Mar came to Scotland 
to raise help to restore him ; and he led one of the three Scottish bands which invaded 
England for that purpose. 

When the great King of Scotland died in 1329, leaving (by his second Queen, 
daughter of the Earl of Ulster), David II., his son, a child of four years old, Donald 
must at that time have again been a Scotchman ; for King Robert had granted him 
charters of two properties in 1328 and 1329. 

Randolph, Earl of Moray, who was Warden of Scotland in the minority of David, 
having died in 1331, the Scottish Parliament, though perhaps not quite trusting Earl 
Donald's patriotism, elected him Warden in 1332. His first and last task in that ca- 
pacity was to meet the invasion of Edward Baliol, which he did at Dupplin ; and there 
he lost his life, with a great part of the Scottish forces, which he had ignorantly 
posted upon confined ground, and without a sufficient watch. 

By his marriage with Isabel, only daughter of Sir Alexander Stewart of Bonkil, 
and sister of the Earl of Angus, he had a son Thomas, thirteenth Earl of Mar, and a 
daughter Margaret ; who were respectively in their time, the first Lord and the second 
Lady of the Garioch. His widow Isabel, Countess of Mar, seems, like the ladies of that 
house, to have had large experience of matrimony — having married twice afterwards. 

By the surprise at Dupplin, Edward Baliol got for a short while possession of the 
Scottish crown ; and in 1334, lie conferred the Earldom of Mar and the Castle of Kil- 
drummy upon Richard Talbot, who was the great-grandfather of the first Earl of 

70 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Shrewsbury, famous in the French wars of Henry VI. of England. Talbot soon lost 
his Earldom, as Edward did his Kingdom. He was conveyed, in 1335, as a Scottish 
captive to the borders of England, to be there set at liberty. 

During Edward Baliol's short period of success, after the death of her son, the Lady 
of the Garioch, a dame worthy to be the wife of Sir Andrew Murray, had to play the 
part of a stout soldier. The barons who had been disinherited after the triumph of 
King Robert, were again powerful. Those of them belonging to the family of Cumyn, 
for their own ends strenuously supported Edward Baliol in his attempt on the throne 
of Scotland, when the death of the great king left his heir an infant. Richard Talbot 
was son-in-law of Cumyn, Earl of Badenoch, whom the Bruce slew at Dumfries. Lord 
Henry de Beaumont was son-in-law of Alexander Cumyn, Earl of Buchan. The Earl 
of Atholl was the son of one of the allies, David of Strathbogy, who upon Cumyn's 
forfeiture, was made Constable of Scotland, before Gilbert Haye, but rebelled and was 
attainted. Many others were banded with these. Their party, known as the English 
party, possessed every stronghold in Scotland, except the Castles of Dumbarton, Loch 
Leven, Kildrummy, and Urquhart, and the Peel of Loch Dune. 

The Lady Christian Bruce with some knights and squires, was bravely holding the 
castle of Kildrummy, which Baliol had conferred upon Richard Talbot. Her husband 
had been a prisoner in England, and obtained his release only in 1334, on payment of a 
heavy ransom. Some new heroes, however, were appearing on the national side — 
William Douglas, afterwards the husband of the next Lady of the Garioch, Alexander 
Ramsay, Laurence Preston, and others. The office of Regent, or Warden, had become 
vacant by the Earl of Moray being inveigled into England and made prisoner. Edward 
Baliol made Atholl his Governor of Scotland. The handful of partriots forming the 
Scottish party, elected Sir Andrew Murray. He was soon to be called into the work 
congenial to him, that of clearing the country of the Baliol party, and his first task 
was to succour his own wife. 

Edward Baliol and the Cumyn faction each wished to use the other for their own 
purposes, and soon quarrelled. Beaumont betook himself to Buchan, and there on a 
rocky stronghold in Aberdour "bigget Dundarg of Lime and Stane, and held all Buchane 
subject," according to Winton. Atholl, who, as representative of the last Cumyn, had 
views towards the throne, laid seige to Kildrummy. On hearing of his wife's danger, 
Sir Andrew Murray quickly raised a force in Lothian, and with Douglas, Ramsay, 
Preston, and some others, hastened north at the head of about 800 men. They passed 
the Cairn o' Mount in safety. Atholl hearing of their approach broke up the seige of 
Kildrummy Castle, and held " straucht to Kylblene," below Ballater. Sir Andrew took 
up his quarters at the Hall of Logie-Ruthven, and was soon joined by 300 men from 
Kildrummy. The battle of Kilblene ensued, fought on St Andrew's Day, 1335. Atholl 
was slain, and some of his followers sought admission to the Scottish party. One 
chief took refuge in the Peel in the middle of Loch Cannor. Atholl's family went to 

Historical Events. 71 

England, where his son became a follower of the best of the Edwards, the Black Prince. 
Sir Andrew Murray having relieved Kildrunimy and its valorous Castellan, his wife, 
hastened to Dundarg, to bring De Beaumont to terms. He had to attack the castle by 
the sort of cannonading then practised, and constructed a large engine for throwing 
stones. The garrison had tried a sortie, but were driven in. After the second stone 
was thrown, De Beaumont capitulated, and was allowed to retire to England. 

Sir Andrew Murray died in 1338; and thereafter his widow perpetuated his 
memory by the erection of the Chapel of our Lady of the Garioch — the special duty of 
the chaplain being to sing masses for the souls of herself, her husband, and her brother. 
Christian, Lady of the Garioch, must have died before 1357. 

The history of the Garioch during the life of the first Lady of the Regality contains 
some particulars illustrative of the condition of Scotland at that time. 

The sufferings of the population are always great under civil war. We have an 
indication of the results of the long-continued struggle in the case of one of the vassals 
of the Lady of the Garioch, Matthew, nicknamed Goblauch, the smith, in the town of 
Auld Bourty, who, in 1342, had to sell his small possession in order to get the neces- 
saries of life, being reduced to destitution by the chances of war. 

The Goblauch's fortune was a light one, compared to that of whole regions in the 
south of Scotland. In 1339, the country about Perth was without habitation and 
almost without inhabitants, — the deer often coming up to the low walls of the town. 
" A karle Crystie Cleek " was accused of setting snares for women and children, that 
he might use them for food. In 1347, a pestilence of cocks and hens occurred in 
Scotland; and in 1349, a pestilence of men, women, and children, whereby a third 
of the population was destroyed. The Pest had never visited Scotland before, not 
even in the seventh century, when it had over-run the rest of Britain and all Europe. 
Another very wide pestilence occurred in 1401. 

About the time of Matthew the Goblauch's extremity of poverty (doubtless no un- 
common lot per discrirntna guerrarurn of which he complains), we have an interesting 
record of proprietors and others in the Garioch, who acted as jurors on an inquest, 
respecting Reginald of Rane, in 1333. They were Sir John Biune, Knight, Master 
Thomas of Salcop, Sir Mathew of Mar, Henry of St. Michael, Euen of Rothenay, 
William of Meldrum, John of Dunfermlyne, clerk, John Barkar, Gregory Bowman, 
William of Pilmor, John of Fyngask, William, the clerk of Sckene, Bartholf of Rane, 
Thomas of Graunt and Gillemuvquach. Is the last name that of the Laird of Grant 1 
Fyngask and Rothenay are Garioch lands. Pilmor was of the Glack family, holding, 
like Fyngask, of the Bishop of Aberdeen. 

David II. coming to the throne a child in 1329, had a nominal reign of forty-two 
years, — eleven of which he spent a prisoner in England, the result of his own rashness, 
which cost his kingdom much dispeace and treasure. During his occupancy of the 
throne, and that of his two immediate successors, ruin must have overtaken the land but 

72 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

for the rise, here and there, of individuals among the nobility, who were worthy of the 
place of kings, at a time when the kings did not exhibit the virtues of nobles. 

The Steward of Scotland, who was the next heir to the throne, had to govern as 
Regent during David's long minority, which he did vigorously ; though when in ad- 
vanced life, he succeeded him as king, and met with resistance from some ambitious 
nobles, he proved himself so unfit to rule that he was practically deposed. 

Every citizen of influence and ability had to lend himself to the necessary duties of 
the troubled period which David's reign occupied. The Garioch furnished a fair pro- 
portion of active bearers of the national burdens ; the baron of Meldrum, and the Pro- 
vost of Aberdeen, ancestor of the present Garioch families of the name of Leith, were 
selected as ambassadors to England, to treat for the king's release. Among the men 
of national value who had to take a leading part amidst the necessities of David's 
reign, other two men who became prominent in public affairs belonged to the Regality ; 
viz., Norman de Leslie, and Sir Robert Erskine of Balhaggarty. 

Provost William Leith went to England with the hostages for King David's 
ransom in 1358; an errand which his second son John repeated, in 1423, for the release 
of James I. from his long capitity. John was sent ambassador to England to negotiate 
state affairs in 1412, 1413, and 1416. Laurence Leith of Barns had, by charter dated 
1388, his right as heir of his father, "William Leith, in the lands of Caprington, con- 
firmed. He was Provost of Aberdeen from 1401 to 1403, and in 1411 for the last time, 
evidently in succession to Provost Robert Davidson, slain at Harlaw. 

Douglas in his Baronage says that Provost William Leith, designed of Barns, was 
said to be the male representative of the Leiths of Edingarioch, and was married to a 
daughter of Donald, 1 2th Earl of Mar, in consequence of which marriage he had the cross 
crosslets of the Mar arms added to his own bearings; but if this statement be correct, the 
lady must either have been illegitimate or have died childless, otherwise her descendants 
would have been nearer heirs to the Mar Earldom than the Erskines. He is at the present 
day represented by Leith (Hay) of Leithhall whose arms, registered in the Lyon's office, 
are the same as those borne by Provost William Leith — as displayed in the Coat of 
Arms of the latter on his monument in Drum's Aisle, Aberdeen. William Leith and 
his immediate descendants were of principal municipal rank in Aberdeen. He was 
Provost from 1352 to 1355 and again in 1373 — as mentioned in Kennedy's Annals 
of Aberdeen — and having had the misfortune to kill one of the bailies named Catten- 
ach, at Barkmill, close by Aberdeen, he, after the manner of the time, compounded 
for the offence. He gifted to the town the Justice Mills. Provost William Leith, or 
according to Sir Robert Douglas (Baronage of Scotland) his son Provost Laurence 
Leith, bestowed the great bells Laurence and Maria, upon the church of St. Nicholas. 
" Lowrie " was the pride of the Aberdonians for several centuries, during which it 
daily pealed forth its note of time, until in the great fire which destroyed the East 
Church and the spire on the night of 9th October 1874, it fell crashing on the floor 

Historical Events 


of Drum's Aisle, near the spot where Provost William Leith himself was interred, and 
beside the wall where his burial tablet, much effaced through the lapse of time, is still 
to be seen. 

Norman de Leslie was grandson of Sir Norman de Leslie, Edward I.'s Sheriff 
of Aberdeenshire, who is said to have married Elizabeth Leith of Edingerraek, 
and had died before 1320. Norman, the second son of Sir Andrew de Leslie, 
dominus ejusdem, and elder brother of the ancestor of the Earls of Bothes and of 
the first Leslie of Balquhain, was largely intrusted with State business. "With Sir 
Robert Erskine he was sent to Eome, in 1358, to solicit a contribution towards the 
ransom of David II. from England ; and was a commissioner thereafter to treat with the 
English. Next year, 1359, Norman de Leslie, "the King's armour-bearer," was com- 
missioned, along with Sir Eobert Erskine and Sir John Grant, to treat as plenipo- 
tentiaries with the Dauphin, then Regent of France, for the restoration of the old league 
between France and Scotland, which his grandfather, Sir Norman, had been a party to 
renouncing at the dictation of Edward, then overlord of Scotland. He was again in 
England in 1362 and 1363, with a retinue of eight squires, upon the affairs of the 
king — then a second time in captivity, his deliverance from which cost the country an 
hundred thousand merks. Norman held the ward of the estate of Kemnay in 1348. 

Sir Eobert Erskine, the colleague of Norman de Leslie in the embassy to Eome in 
1358, had a higher part to play in national politics. He was Chamberlain of Scotland 
at the time of the King's death in 1370, and by his vigorous action, supported by two 
or three other powerful nobles, was actually the arbiter of the throne, securing undis- 
puted succession to it for the rightful heir, Eobert, Steward of Scotland, against the 


74 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

schemes of a determined and vigorous malcontent, William of Douglas, who was 
shortly to become a prominent personage in the Eegality. 

The Garioch ballad, " Lang Johnnie More," — the Titanic personages of which, 
viz., Jock o' Noth and Johnnie o' Benachie, reached the English Court in two days 
from Benachie, to rescue from the Monarch's ire their fourteen feet tall friend Johnnie, 
whose charms had fascinated the Princess Boyal — includes, among the Scottish men 
of might who were to be appealed to against the English King, Sir John of Erskine 
Park. Sir John, who appears in the ballad as " thirty feet and three," was the 
father or grandfather of the great Chamberlain, and may have preceded him in the 
Garioch lands. The mythical picture is perhaps a quaint but appropriate memorial 
of the exceptional position, for a subject, which the first proprietor of Conglass, 
Balhaggarty, &c, held in Scotland ; and it seems designed also to celebrate the import- 
ance of the houses of Balquhain and Forbes, in later times chronic antagonists. 

Among other characters of the time who played less prominent parts, were the 
supporters already mentioned of Sir Andrew Murray, when he cleared the country of the 
last Baliol faction ; Laurence Preston may have been father, or brother, of Henry 
Preston, the future Lord of Formartine. William Douglas was a nephew of the " good 
Sir James," and was himself both talented and ambitious. He acquired the Earldom 
of Douglas, and by his marriage with Margaret of Mar, came to hold, as her husband, 
the honours and influence of Mar and Garioch. Sir Robert Erskine, as Chamberlain of 
Scotland had, as before mentioned, on the death of King David II., to take sharp 
precautions against Douglas's conduct as a subject ; and the Countess of Mar and lie 
were separated as husband and wife by process of divorce. 

The first Lord of the Garioch was Thomas, the Earl of Mar, the son of Donald. 
He bore the title of Lord of Cavers — how acquired does not appear, and he came 
into possession of the Regality before 1357, upon the death of his grandmother, the 
Lady Christian Bruce. He represented the combined dignities during the latter half 
of the reign of David II., and twelve years of that of the rather senile Robert II. 

In 1359, as Earl of Mar, Lord of Cavers and the Garioch, &c, Chamberlain of Scot- 
land, Thomas made a grant of lands in Strathdee. He had in the preceding year, 1358, 
got from David II. a charter of the lands and lordship of the Garioch, to be held as 
freely as ever David of Huntingdon held them. Next year he gave a charter to Sir 
John of Mar, Canon of Aberdeen, of the lands of Cruterystoun in the Garioch (Cour- 
testown in Leslie), with the curious privilege of Fleming lauch, a record which associates 
the lands referred to with the early period of the Crusades, when Flemish colonies of 
cloth makers were established in many of the more settled parts of the island. 

The first Lord of the Garioch was, it is likely, brought up in England, the real 
country of his father, and he continued in close friendship with Edward III. In the 
year 1359, he entered into an indenture to be Edward's liegeman against all but the 
King of Scotland, Edward stipulating to pay him 600 merks sterling yearly, until he 

Historical Ecenta. 75 

should find him a wife to his content, and also to pay him £600 sterling yearly should 
he, on the Monarch's account, lose his Scottish estates — no unlikely event. Two years 
afterwards David II. besieged and took Earl Thomas's Castle of Kildrummy, and put 
it in charge of Sir Walter Moigne, Knight, and his Esquire, Ingram of Winton. The 
latter was a relative probably of Wynton, the Prior of St. Serf's, the writer of the 
Chronicle, and the minute recorder of the deeds of Alexander Stewart, the famous 
Earl of Mar. The family of Winton owned the lands of Andat in Buchan, a good 
while before Harlaw ; and afterwards held some property near the glebes of the chap- 
lains of our Lady of the Garioch, where the church of Chapel of Garioch now stands. 

Earl Thomas seems to have returned speedily to his own Sovereign's favour ; who, 
within the next few years confirmed several of his charters, including one of Balhaggarty, 
Boynds, Conglass, and Inveramsay, disponed by Earl Thomas, in 1355-57, to Sir 
Robert Erskine. 

Thomas, Lord of the Garioch, must have been well known on the highroad between 
England and Scotland, which he frequently travelled with trains of from twelve to a 
hundred horsemen. His passports are numerous between 1357 and 1372, on religious 
pilgrimages, on matters of national business, and on foreign travel. In 1364, two of his 
esquires were sent by him from Eugland to bring 100 oxen from Scotland for his table. 
One of the squires was John Cameron. The Earl made him laird of Brux, the fol- 
lowing year, on his marrying Ellen Mowat, the Earl's kinswoman. Their descendants 
possessed Brux until the reign of James I., when Sir Hugh Cameron's daughter married 
into the family of Lord Forbes. Earl Thomas's lands in the south of Scotland may 
have come by his mother, who, it would appear, claimed the hereditary office of Sheriff 
of Roxburgh, and Warden of Selkirk Forest. He seems to have had a brother named 
Thomas Baliol — a record it may be of his father's English proclivities at the time of 
the child's birth. 

The great Earl employed as his secretary at one period of his career, the first of the 
Aberdeenshire race of Johnston, viz., Stephen de Johnston, denominated " the Clerk," 
from his possessing a degree of culture not common in that age. It has been before noted 
that Stephen married the heiress of Caskieben, Margaret de Garviach. He came from 
the South of Scotland, and was said to have been brother of the Laird of Johnston, in 
Annandale, which was the native region of the royal house of Bruce ; but whether 
Stephen came north in the Earl of Mar's train, or first became known to Earl Thomas 
in the house of the Earl's liegeman and relative, Andrew de Garviach, the family 
history does not specify. From the occurrence of his name, as Stephen " clericus," in 
a charter granted by Margaret, the next Superior of the Regality, his intimate relations 
with the family of Mar, seem to have continued after the death of Stephen's patron — 
Earl Thomas of Mar. 

Thomas, the first Lord of the Garioch, died, leaving no issue, at Kildrummy, in or 
before 1377 : and is said to have been buried under the east wing of the Castle of Kil- 

76 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

drummy. He had been twice, if not three times, married. In 1352, he had a Papal 
dispensation to enable him to marry Margaret, widow of John of Moray ; and in 1354, 
another to marry Margaret, daughter of the deceased John, Earl of Meuteith. From 
her he was divorced ; and his next wife, Margaret Stewart, sister of the Earl of Angus, 
survived Earl Thomas of Mar. 

Margaret, his sister, the wife of "William, Earl of Douglas, succeeded Thomas, in 
the Mar and Garioch titles and possessions. Her husband, a successful soldier of 
fortune, nephew and representative of Sir James of Douglas, adopted by marital right 
her titles, in addition to his own, and appears in the troubled stage of public life in 
Scotland, as Earl of Douglas and Mar, and Lord of the Garioch. 

The useless life of David II. had permitted the great barons to free themselves 
from the habit of feudal subordination, and allowed individual ambition to rise to 
dangerous influence ; and the cost of ransoming the King from his repeated cap- 
tivities increased the poverty and discontent of the various orders of the community. 
In 1363, some years before his death, David added to the national annoyance which 
his reign had engendered, by proposing to make one of Edward III.'s sons his successor. 
The proposal was rejected by the Parliament ; but the succession of Robert II., son of 
Marjory the infant Princess who was carried off to England with her mother in 1306, 
was a cause of jealousy to the powerful barons, which made the reigns of himself and of 
his son, Robert III., a period of tumidt and insecurity. Both kings, and the second 
especially, had to resort repeatedly to bonds of alliance with now one now another of 
their powerful subjects, to aid them against all enemies of their life and authority. 

"William of Douglas was one of those barons whose pride of place spoiled them as 
subjects. As a successful noble, and latterly holding the dignities of both Douglas and 
Mar — the last of which must have placed him foremost among the barons of the 
kingdom, he upon the death of David II., in 1370, could but ill brook the raising of 
Robert the Stewart of Scotland to the rank of King. Some affront probably aggra- 
vated his pride, and led him to meditate opposition. Sir Robert Erskine, however, 
had command of the three great fortresses of Edinburgh, Stirling, and Dumbarton ; and 
promptly joining his forces with those of the Earls of March and Moray, he made 
Douglas think more wisely and remain quiet — some substantial gifts and honours being, 
at the same time, conferred to conciliate him. 

"William, Earl of Douglas, was separated by divorce from the Countess of Mar, and 
both married again. He must have died before the feast of the Assumption in 1384; at 
which date his widow completed a charter, the execution of which had been interrupted 
by his death. The children born of their marriage were James, the hero of Otterburn, 
and Isabel, who became the wife of Alexander Stewart, the most celebrated of the Earls 
of Mar. 

Margaret, Lady of the Garioch, was married again before 20th August, 1 387 ; when 
her second husband, John of Swinton, concurred with her in the charter of Bourtie, 

Historical Events. 77 

granted to Alexander Barclay. She must have, as Scottish law permitted, decorated her 
son with the family titles. In the year 1385, after his father's death, be appears using 
the Douglas titles only; but in a charter of 27th July, 1388, he styles himself Earl of 
Douglas and Mar, while his mother was certainly living — as is proved by the existence 
of a charter granted by her, with the full titles, in 1389. 

In 1388, 27th July, Earl James executed a charter giving the patronage of Cavers 
to the Abbey of Melrose ; which was witnessed by his sister's husband, Malcolm 
Drummond, brother of the queen, Sir John Swinton his " dear father," Sir John of 
Tours, and Murdoch Glaster (of Glack). Nine days afterwards he was buried within 
that Abbey. 

An invasion of England had been determined on in Parliament. It was conducted 
by the Earl of Fife on the west marches, and by Douglas on the east. A dashing 
exploit of the Scottish van, daring the whole chivalry of York and Northumber- 
land, under the walls of Newcastle, and carrying off the pennon of Hotspur, led to the 
battle of Otterburn, which cost the lives of both Douglas and Sir John of Tours. 
Henry Preston was in that conflict ; also Sir Thomas Erskine (of Conglass, &c), the son 
of the great Chamberlain. He has the honour of a place in Wynton's poem, 
who says he was " fellely woundit in the face". Douglas, having challenged Hotspur, 
to recoyer his flag, had forced his way into the thick of the English spears by the 
power of his battle axe, but was pierced and trodden down. When he was found, 
his chaplain, a priest of the name of Eundie, was bestriding his dying master, and 
wielding his battle-axe to defend him from injury. The Scottish host bore their gallant 
leader's body to Melrose, in face of the great English force. In the battle, Hotspur, or 
Henry Percy, and his brother Ealph, were both taken prisoners : — Ealph Percy being 
the captive of Robert Keith, who, as substitute for his father the Marischal of Scot- 
land, assumed the command after Douglas fell. 

It has been noted that the price of Ealph Percy's release, in 1390, was a Eoyal 
Charter confirming the disposition of the Castle of Fyvie, made by its then lord, Sir 
James Lindsay, Earl of Crawford and Buchan, to his son-in-law, Henry Preston. The 
peculiar connection of events may he explained by the fact that Eobert Keith, Percy's 
captor, was nephew to the wife of Sir James Lindsay, 

Robert Keith was the chief actor in another historical event characteristic of the 
time. "Wynton in relating it, calls him " Eobert de Keith, a mighty man be lyneage, 
and appearand then to be a Lord of mycht and many lands of rycht richt". He quar- 
relled, for some cause, with his aunt, Lady Crawford, and besieged her in her Castle of 
Fyvie while the Earl was at Court. He removed some masons who were building about 
the Castle, and stopped those coming from the garden to the burn for water. Sir James 
hearing of his wife's plight, hastily crossed the Munth with 300 or 400 men for Fyvie. 
Eobert of Keith came south at once, probably making for shelter within his father's 
house at Hallforest, but he was met by Lindsay near the place where Bruce overtook 

78 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Cumyn at the battle of Inverurie. "VVynton heads his short chapter, on the event, 

thus — 

Of a fechtyn that while was in Bourty, 
"When there was slane mair than fourty. 

He says Keith lost fifty men and more ; 

So Robert quyte 
"Was in that bargain diseomfyte. 

Henry Preston had not taken possession of the castle then (1395), and perhaps not till 
two or three years later. His father-in-law, by charter, bearing a date possibly 1397, 
gave him additional lands (Meikle Gurdens and Parkhill). This charter is witnessed by 
the Marischal and Robert. Another witness was the notorious Sir John of Eamorgeny, 
immortalised in " The Fair Maid of Perth " as the accomplice of the Duke of 
Albany in the murder of the young Duke of Eothesay, in 1402. 

Fyvie passed from the Preston name, as it had come, by female succession. Henry 
Preston left two daughters, as his heirs. One of them, having Fyvie as her portion, 
married into the family of Meldrum. The other brought Tolquhon, with part of the 
Thanage of Formartine, into one of the branches of the Forbes family ; which, in 
that generation, founded four long continuing houses — Druminnor, Brux, Tolquhon, 
and Pitsligo. 

By the death of the Douglas, his sister became successor to her mother as Countess 
of Mar and Lady of the Garioch. Isabel was at that time wife of Sir Malcolm 
Drummond, the brother of Robert Ill's Queen. Sir Malcolm took the marital titles 
in which rank he appears, at the date 7th March, 1398. 

In 1402, Sir Malcolm Drummond was surprised, and taken prisoner, in some 
suspicious circumstances ; and died in hard confinement. His widow had no child by 
him, and she appeared so tempting a prize to a needy and talented nobleman of the 
period, Alexander Stewart — illegitimate son of the King's brother, Alexander Stewart, 
Earl of Buchan, commonly known as the Wolf of Badenoch — that, as before indicated, 
he managed apparently to seize her castle of Kildrummy and compel her to marry him. 
He was not unsuspected of having even provided for her becoming a widow. 

Alexander Stewart was so much a man representative of his time, that a sketch of 
his history may appropriately be given later, in connection with the battle of Harlaw, 
an event which prominently associated him with the history of the Garioch. 


There is but little of ecclesiastical history of the Garioch on record during the 14th 
century. The unsettled times were unfavourable for religious, as well as social, prosperity. 
One of the chief tasks of William de Deyn, who became Bishop of Aberdeen in 1341, 
was " to reform the manners of his clergymen — wild through the long civil war ". The 

Ecclesiastical Eoenis. 79 

wild manners of the clergy were, in all likelihood, due to their being, like James of 
Douglas's priest Lundie, somewhat accustomed to " boot and saddle " during the tumul- 
tuary conflicts of the civil war. 

We have not the names of any of the vicars of Inverurie, and only a notice of the 
parish, as of others, recording a valuation of the living in 1366. The parishes in 
Aberdeenshire from which David, Earl of Huntingdon and the Garioch, endowed his 
Abbey of Lindores, exhibited considerable diversity of ecclesiastical provision made by 
the Abbey for the support of the vicars. The Abbey seems, by the arrangement holding 
at that time, to have taken to itself half of the victual payments due in the several 
parishes, and the whole of the rents of the Church lands bestowed upon it ; while the 
vicars, in addition to the other half of the victual payments, had some money pay- 
ments belonging to the several parishes. The following table shows the various pay- 
ments : — 

The Vicar's Money and Victual. The Abbey's Victual. 

Fintray 10 m., with 20 chald. 1\ m. 20 chald. 2i m. 

Kennethmont .. 6 m. 14 m. 14 m. 

Insch 6 m. 22 m. 11 sh. 22 m. 11 sh. 

Premnay 4 m. 16 m. 16 m. 

Eathmuriel 3 m. 9| m. 9| m. 

Culsalmond 6 m. 26-| m. 26 m. 

Inverurie 17 m. 25 chald. 9 m. 10 sh. 25 chald. 9 m. 10 sh. 

Durnoch 20 m. 30 chald. 11 m. 30 chald. 11 m. 

The Abbey enjoyed, in addition, the Kirklands of Fintray, Monkegy, and Durnoch, 
yielding in rent 62 merks, 4 merks, and 7 merks respectively; and the lands of Newton, 

6 merks, with the Mill, 100 sh. ; Culsalmond and Tullymorgan, 9 merks ; Wrangham, 

7 merks; Ledingham, 6 merks 10 sh., with 12 merks for the Mill and 10 sh. for the 
Brewhouse; Eathmuriel, 58 sh. and 4d., with 18 sh. for the Brewhouse ; and Edelard, 
1 merk. The Abbey divided with the Vicarage of Insch the rent, yielding 8 merles to 
each, of a piece of land, described as portio Domini Jordani, which may have been 
bequeathed by Canon Jordan, who appears in a charter of 1244. 

At the same date, 1366, Kinkell and its Chapels appears with a revenue of only 80 
merks, 30 of which went to the Brotherhood of Torphicon, then representing the 
Knights Templars. Bourtie possessed 30 merks, and 4 merks of Kirkland rents, the 
vicar's portion of the whole being 10 merks 10 sh. Daviot had 24 merks; Oyne, 30 
merks ; Leslie, 3 merks, with 15 merks of victual ; Clatt, 16 merks ; Eayne, 33 merks 
from Kirkland rents and victual stipend, 8 merks of altarage, and £ merk for the Brew- 
house. The living of Monymusk Vicarage was 30 merks, and that of Bethelny, 28 
merks of victual and 5 merks of money. 

An attempt was made, some time after 1336, to reduce the livings of the abbey 
vicars ; but with the aid of the Bishop it was prevented. 

80 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

One event of ecclesiastical history, possessing special local interest, belongs to the 
century. The famous Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Garioch had its origin 
in that period. It was founded some time before 1357 by Christian Bruce, Lady of the 
Garioch, for the performance of religious services for the souls of the founder (herself), 
of King Robert, her brother, and of her deceased husband, Sir Andrew of Moray — she 
bestowing for that purpose a toft in Drumdurnoch or Edindurnoch, and a hundred 
shillings sterling yearly out of her lands of Meikle "VVarthill, apparently also called 
Gilberthill, in her lordship of the Garioch. 

Some thirty years afterwards, in 1384, her granddaughter Margaret, Countess of 
Douglas and Mar, and Lady of the Garioch, then likwise a widow, founded an additional 
chaplainry for the weal of the founder (herself), of "William, Earl of Douglas, her 
deceased husband, of the deceased Thomas, Earl of Mar, her brother, and of James, 
Earl of Douglas, her son. 

The Countess Margaret conveyed for the support of the chaplain a ten pound rent, 
secured upon " two parts of the town of Pitgaveny, and the whole town of Colliehill, 
excepting the Westfield, lying in the tenement of Bourtie, and the regality of the 
Garioch". She had received that value for the relief of the lordship of Bourtie from 
Alexander Berclay, son of William Berclay of Kercow, and heir of the deceased John 
of Abernethie, his brother. 

After Harlaw, other benefactions were added to the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin 
of the Garioch ; and it became so fashionable that the institution of new chaplainries 
was continued by local magnates. 

Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, is said to have founded a chaplainry for the souls 
of his followers who fell at Harlaw. 

In 1420, Isabel Mortimer, widow of Sir Andrew Leslie of Balquhain, founded a 
fourth chaplainry for her six sons slain at Harlaw, and for her husband killed in rebellion 
at Braco. A mortification in 1425, for a chaplain performing services for Sir Andrew's 
soul, was executed by Patrick Ogilvy, who had been the instrument of his defeat ar 1 
death, and was probably an augmentation of that made by his widow. 

In 1474, a fifth chaplainry was endowed by Alexander Leslie, the first baron of 
Wardes, for the souls of himself and his wife. 

A sixth, called the Pitcaple Chaplainry, existed before 1511 ; when the patronage 
was confirmed by the King to the laird of Pitcaple. 

The chaplainry founded by Margaret of Douglas was called the Colliehill Chap- 
lainry, and had two acres of land, apparently part of the present glebe, attached to it 
in 1500, by Alexander Galloway, then chaplain, afterwards rector of Kinked, and the 
architect of the Bridge of Dee. The Earl of Mar was patron. 

The six chaplains served in turns, by pairs. There was probably a full service of 
the whole collegiate body in September, 1562, when Queen Mary, lodging at the Castle 

Ecclesiastical Events. 81 

of Balquhain, went up the steep brae of Craigsley to hear mass in the House of God 
which her ancestress had founded. 

In a short time the ancient foundation remained only in the form of one or, it may 
be, more chaplains being still elected to the emoluments. In 1600, David, Bishop of 
Aberdeen, gave collation to Mr. George Seton, the brother of the then laird of Bourtie, 
in the Chaplainry of Colliehill, " whereof the Earl of Mar was undoubted patron"; and 
some years later, we find Alexander JafFray, Provost of Aberdeen, resigning a mortgage 
he had over lands belonging to the Chaplainry of Conglass, which had probably been 
that founded by Alexander Stewart. Under the Beformation, the Chapel gave place, as 
the scene of divine worship, to the Parish Church of Chapel of Garioch, serving the 
combined parishes of Logydurno and Fetternear. 

A century after Queen Mary's visit, the sentiment which in the successive founda- 
tions of Chaplainries of the Garioch had combined religion with something of family 
importance, was manifesting itself there in an altered form. An hospital at Pittodrie 
entertained four poor men who were entitled to a peck of meal, and half a peck of 
malt, each, per week ; and who had to wear livery gowns, and to walk to church, on 
Sundays, before the family. 

One ecclesiastic of note renders the history of the Garioch, in the last half of the 
disturbed century preceding Harlaw, illustrious by his own single presence. John 
Barbour, the author of the first known Scottish Poem, "The Bruce," written in the cause 
of national liberty, was a well-known individual at that period in the Garioch. We 
may figure him to ourselves, the esteemed counsellor of Sir Eobert Erskine and Norman 
de Leslie, and of the patriotic Lords and Ladies of the Garioch, and a guest well able to 
enliven their social feasts with observation on foreign lands and courts, such as only a 
traveller accomplished as he was can bring home. His poem, " The Bruce," presents us 
with the style of language then reckoned fit for courtly ears and the speech of an accom- 
plished man. Excepting some idioms now obsolete, it was a fairly equal mixture of 
modern English and the present Aberdeenshire vernacular. 

The year 1396 was that of Archdeacon John Barbour's death, the parson of Bayne, 
and the historian of the War of Independence. It redeems considerably the idea one 
would form of Scottish life in the fourteenth century from the prominent occurrences of 
history, to find accounts of this Aberdeenshire priest, a man of no rank by birth, 
acquiring learning enough in Aberdeen to qualify him for high commissions in the 
political difficulties of the time, and to imbue him with desire of further study. In 
1357, Barbour had a passport from Edward III. to travel with three scholars to Oxford 
to study there; and again, in 1364, for himself to study at Oxford, or elsewhere; and 
again, in 1365, with six horsemen, and in 1368, with two servants and their horses, to 
travel through England to France, for the purpose of study. 

If there were fighting priests like Lundie, the chaplain of James of Douglas, and 
if general wildness of manners characterised the clergy, so as to make the reclaiming of 


82 ■ Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

his clerical subordinates the special task of Bishop William de Deyn, the Bayne parson, 
humble of origin, was as conspicuous an honour to his country as after times have pro- 
duced. Priest Lundie is said to have been Archdeacon of Aberdeen, and if such was 
the fact, he had most likely been the immediate successor of the learned minstrel of the 
Bruce's wars — a not unfitting contrast for the period. The Lady of the Garioch, Earl 
James of Douglas's only sister, may have procured him that preferment. 

Chapter III. 


State of Society. — Albany's misrule — Marriage of ladies of rank — Contracts for mutual defence — 
Chivalry —Cateran violence — Duel mi the Inch of Perth. The Earl of Mar. — Bis popularity 
in Aberdeen — Provost Davidson — Alexander Stewart's marriage — His naval exploits — Tourna- 
ments — Voyage to France — Siege of Liege — Second marriage — Christmas of H10 at Kildrummy. 
The Battle of Harlaw.— Wrony done to the Lord of the Isles — His appeal to arms — Mar 
appointed to oppose him — Combatants — Aberdeen burgesses — Southern barons — Mar and Garioch 
vassals — Church tenants — Inverurie burgesses — Crown vassals of Strathbogic — Formartine and 
Buchan vassals — The Ballad. 


fHE history of social life in Scotland during the greater part of the fourteenth 
century was such as found an appropriate termination in the terrible battle of 
Harlaw. From 1389 until after 1411 the royal power was held by a brother of 
Eobert II., a man of vigour, but utterly unprincipled; and who, in the end, was so 
strongly suspected of the murder of his nephew, David, Duke of Rothsay, the oldest 
son of King Eobert III., in 1402, that, though acquitted upon trial, he deemed it 
advisable subsequently to obtain a formal pardon from his helpless brother for the 
alleged crime. Misrule was the condition of the time, and the humbler classes of the 
people existed in a position of oppression by the unscrupulous and haughty barons, 
which had no limits. 

The domestic fortunes of the three ladies, Christian Bruce, Margaret of Douglas, 
and Isabel of Douglas, who during that period were all Ladies of the Garioch, illustrate 
the necessities of social life in even the highest rank. No female who possessed wide 
lands and feudal influence was safe without the protection of a husband sufficiently 
powerful to defend her property. Christian Bruce, the widow of Gartney, Earl of Mar, 
was subsequently twice married. She was in her second widowhood in a.d. 1314, when 
released along with Robert I.'s queen from English captivity. The Lady Christian's 
granddaughter, Margaret, Lady of the Garioch after the death of her brother Thomas, 
seems upon being divorced from William of Douglas, to have very speedily espoused 
a second husband able to protect her — John of Swinton, a fellow-soldier of her first 
husband and a close friend of her knightly son, James of Douglas. Sir John Swinton 
ruled the regality of the Garioch in her name, while her son by Earl Douglas 
took up the position of his father as the leader of Scottish chivalry against England. 
Before the death of Countess Margaret, her daughter Isabel, who was to succeed 
to her lands and authority, was wedded to a husband of much influence, Sir Malcolm 

84 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Drummond, brother of Annabella, the Queen of Robert III., and Sir Malcolm, as 
William of Douglas had done before him, assumed the titles of Earl of Mar and Lord 
of the Garioch. The position of husband to the Countess of Mar and Garioch was one 
of such consequence that her widowhood was apparently planned by the man who was 
himself ambitious of obtaining the hand of the bereaved relict. 

These marriages were in reality only one form of alliance for the protection of 
property, position, or life, which had become as necessary to great barons as to the 
sovereign himself. Whatever claims of right arose disposable by law, had to be 
supported by contracts of mutual aid against all opponents, formed between the 
claimant and powerful friends, to secure or enforce righteous decisions. It was by a 
prompt treaty entered into with two or three powerful barons, that Sir Robert Erskine 
of Conglass was able to keep the crown for its rightful heir. His son, Sir Thomas, 
had to petition the King that no sanction might be given to any plan proposed by the 
husband of Isabel, Sir Malcolm Drummond, for diverting any part of the Mar property to 
Sir Malcolm's own heirs; and his son afterwards entered into bonds with Lindsay, 
Earl of Buchan and Crawford, then Lord of Fyvie, and with the greatest vassal of the 
Mar family, the Lord of Forbes, for their support in vindicating his rights against all 
opposition, when the chief opposition was expected to come from the King. In 1360, 
the Forbeses in the same way entered into a bond of mutual help with the Chief of 
Clanchattan and the Roses of Kilravoek. 

These alliances of barons, generally completed by what were termed " Bonds of 
Manrent," had been rendered needful by the unequal administration of the law at 
a time when the Governor of Scotland, Albany, along with his immediate faction, had 
proved themselves to be the greatest law-breakers in the country. But it was a form of 
self-defence which prevailed thoughout Europe at a much later period ; and which, in 
Scotland, exhibited its last remarkable development in the Solemn League and Covenant 
of the seventeenth century. 

Chivalry, which, in its extravagance, degenerated into knight-errantry, was another 
fashion adapted to the times. James of Douglas, and his gallant rival in knightly fame, 
Henry Percy, called Hotspur, were the flower of chivalry in that age in the two king- 
doms. Tournaments and challenges to single combat were recognised as features of 
high life essential to true nobility, and the records of the time abound with letters of 
safe conduct granted by the English Kings to Scottish knights, with certain described 
followings, to pass into England, or to France, or other countries, upon errands of 
chivalry. One of the most renowned jousters of his time was Alexander Stewart, 
Earl James's brother-in-law, the second husband of his sister Isabel, and the future 
hero of Harlaw. 

A slight foreshadowing of Harlaw befell in 1392 ; the leader of the insurgent 
Highlanders being Duncan Stewart, a brother of Alexander, another bastard son of the 
Wolf of Badenoch, who had, it is said, quarrelled with Sir David Lindsay of Glenesk. 

The Earl of Afar. 85 

Duncan Stewart descended on the braes of Angus, holding his way from Loch an Eilan 
by the drove road in immemorial use between Abernethy and Braemar, and so over the 
Glenmuick pass on to the hills of Clova. He had with him more than three hundred 
caterans, a part probably of the wild and ruthless host of retainers by whom his father, 
" the Wolf," on the feast of St. Botolf, 1390, had sacked and burnt the town of Forres, 
and Elgin minster. The raid of Duncan was long remembered for the bereavement 
it brought to the principal .Forfarshire families. The Sheriff of Angus, Sir Walter 
Ogilvy, Sir Patrick Gray, Sir David Lindsay, and their armed followers went in 
insufficient numbers to meet the horde. A fierce battle ensued near Glasclune, west of 
Blairgowrie, in which Lindsay was slain. He had impaled a Highlander on his spear, 
and the wounded man twisted himself round on the shaft and hewed Lindsay to the 

It is likely that the occurrence of that raid suggested the crafty counsel of Lindsay, 
Earl of Crawford, which four years later brought two of the Highland clans to teach 
themselves, and the whole Celtic tribes, a lesson of peaceableness. The stories of the 
joustings and single combats of the lowland knights had travelled into the turbulent 
Highlands. Two clans, Clan Quhele, to which the Duffs belong, and Clan Kay, 
supposed to have been Dhai, or Davidson, had a long-standing feud. They agreed to 
settle it by a combat, of equal numbers, to be fought, like the great tournaments, in 
presence of the Sovereign. This idea was encouraged ; and the horrible slaughter at 
which the King was persuaded, against his own feelings, to preside, took place on the 
North Inch of Perth in 1396. It is the battle described by Scott in the " Fair Maid of 
Perth ". The Highlands were quiet for long thereafter. Wynton says in his account 
of the combat — " On the same hour of that day, a great battle of Saracens and 
Christians was in Hungary." 


In 1398, two years after the death of John Barbour, we have the first notices of 
Alexander Stewart, the most noted of the Earls of Mar and Lords of the Garioch. He 
was then one of the " neighbours " of the burgh of Aberdeen ; and along with others 
was entertained by the magistrates at " various potations " to the cost of xx 3 , at the 
wine booth of Eobert Davidson, who in 1411 was Provost of Aberdeen, and who fell 
at Harlaw. The town at the same time bought back for xvid the bow and arrows and 
sword of one of Stewart's followers, which had been taken in some fight, besides paying 
V s costs for some others. 

Eobert Davidson's house was in the Shiprow, and he was one of the four baillies 
in 1398. He appears to have carried on a miscellaneous business. In 1395, he was 
Collector of the Great, or King's, Customs, along with William Chalmers, a name 
frequently appearing in deeds of the time, — probably Provost Chalmers of Murtle. 

86 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Robert Davidson acted as agent for various pensioners upon those Customs, among 
others Sir Malcolm Drummond and the Duke of Eothesay. Kennedy states in his 
Annals (Vol. II., p. 231), that Robert Davidson was Provost of Aberdeen from 1405 to 
1409, and again in 1410. The well-to-do merchant seems to have continued the intimate 
friend of Alexander Stewart, through all the greatness that awaited that celebrated 
man ; in his attachment to whom, however, he was but like the whole Burghal com- 
munity of Aberdeen. 

Sir Malcolm Drummond died in 1402; and two years after, Stewart appeared before 
the Castle of Kildrummy with an army of caterans and stormed it in the face of every 
resistance. " Even under the misgovernment of Albany, this outrageous proceeding, 
joined with the suspicion that the same hand had brought about the murder of Drum- 
mond, roused public indignation. Before, however, investigation could be ordered, a 
strange scene was transacted before the Castle. Stewart presented himself at the outer 
gate, and there, in the presence of the Bishop of Ross and the assembled tenantry and 
vassals, was met by the Countess of Mar, upon which, with much feudal pomp and 
solemnity, he surrendered the keys of the Castle into her hands, declaring that he did so 
freely and of good heart, that she might dispose of them as she pleased. The lady, 
then, holding the keys in her hand, declared that she freely chose Stewart for her lord 
and husband, and that she gave him in marriage the Earldom of Mar, the Castle of 
Kildrummy, and all the other lands which she inherited. The whole proceedings were 
closed with solemn instruments being taken on the spot." (Tytler.) 

King Robert III., who was powerless in Albany's hands, legalized this extraordinary 
proceeding, allowing Stewart to assume the titles of Earl of Mar and Lord of the 
Garioch. A further paction with King James I., however, was added afterwards, that 
in default of heirs of the body of Alexander Stewart himself, or of his natural son, 
Thomas Stewart, the whole dignities and lands should pass to the Crown ; which 
accordingly they did, Alexander having survived his son — which last died childless. 

Tytler says of Alexander Stewart subsequent to his becoming Earl of Mar, that 
" after amusing his taste for adventures in foreign war, leading the life of Knight 
errant, and dividing his time between actual fighting and the recreations of tilts and 
tournaments, he became latterly a pirate, and, with a small squadron, infested the coast 
between Berwick and Newcastle, destroying or making jwizes of English vessels ". The 
explanation seems to be that this naval raid was in retaliation for an invasion of the 
Aberdeen coast by English ships in 1404, and the destructive interruption of the 
fisheries, which were very valuable at the time. Stewart was Sheriff of Aberdeenshire 
in 1 405. In September of the next year he went, under a safe conduct, to England to 
hold a passage of arms with Edward, Earl of Kent, in the King's presence. He had 
seventy persons in his train on that expedition. In the same month, two of his 
chaplains, John Stele and William Stewnyson, had a safe conduct to pass through 
England to Bruges on their master's affairs. 

The Earl of Mar. 87 

Countess Isabel died before 10th February, 1408, when a new chapter of the 
Earl's life began. 

Stewart's great admirer, "Wynton, who probably, by family ties, was a vassal of 
Kildrummy, records his visiting France that year. " The Erie of Mare past into 
France with a nobyl cumpany, well arrayit and daintily, knychts, squires, and gentlemen 
full sixty." In Paris he held royal state, at the sign of the Tynnyn Plate. For 
" twelve ouks he kept open house and table. He was commendit of all nations for wyt, 
wertue, and larges." The King of France gave him a post of honour at his court, to 
wait upon him in state at table. The Earl remained but a short time in France, and 
taking leave of the French King, the Duke of Burgon (Burgundy) who " took him in 
special acquaintance," and the French lords, he set out on his return home. While, be 
waited at Bruges for weather, the Scottish Earl was suddenly applied to by the Duke 
of Holland to help his brother, John of Bavaria, the secular bishop-elect of Liege, 
whose subjects had no wish for his rule, and had themselves chosen another, a son of 
Sir Henry Horn, and were prepared to offer a stout resistance. He undertook the 
service although he had with him but twenty-eight spears and four knights. In the 
siege and conflicts that ensued, the van was assigned by the Dukes of Holland and Bur- 
gundy, to the Earl of Mar, and he had five banners besides his own. He made several 
knights on the eve of the attack, one of whom, was Alexander Keith — probably the 
third son of the Marischal, said to have been with the Earl of Mar at Harlaw — and 
another was his banneoure, or standard-bearer, John the Menzies — probably an ancestor 
of the Aberdeen family of that surname — and a third was Alexander Irvine of Drum. 
The battle was a most bloody one, 30,000 men being slain.. The worthless bishop was 
put in possession of his see; which he held until deposed by the Council of Constance. 

The Earl of Mar was rewarded with lands which he had subsequently much 
difficulty in getting possession of, and a wife little less difficult to retain, who had been 
notorious for her changes of husband. One account calls her Isabel, Countess of 
Holland, another, Mary de Homes, Lady of Duffle in Brabant, and narrates that Mar 
got with her the lordships of Brabant and Walheni. He returned home under a safe 
conduct from Henry TV. of England, dated December 29, 1408. In deeds subsequent 
to 1409, he appears as Earl of Mar, Lord of the Garioch, Lord of Duffle in Brabant. 
This personage is said to have improved the breed of horses in Scotland by introducing 
from his Belgian territory Flemish stallions and mares— an advantage of a species 
more permanent than his matrimonial acquisition. 

In December, 1410, he was evidently holding high state at Kildrummy, and 
signing charters by his new title, his short second marriage, probably, not then dissolved. 
At that time he gave a charter with consent of Sir Thomas Erskine, of lands hi 
Auchendoir to his faithful knight, the laird of Drum, who never left him until Harlaw. 
The witnesses to the charter were the Bishop of Aberdeen, Gilbert Greenlaw, Chancellor 
of Scotland ; Henry de Lichton, rector of Kinkell— who, after Greenlaw's death in 1422, 

88 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Gariotih. 

became Bishop of Aberdeen, and who erected Kinkell and its six chapels into a pre- 
bend of that see ; James Stewart, the Earl's brother ; William Chalmers, father ; and 
Eobert Davidson. 

Seven months thereafter, in July, 1411, Robert Davidson was lying a bloody corpse 
on the field of Harlaw. The same carnage included the Laird of Drum, and a near 
relative of the bishop, whose broken tombstone on the floor of the ruins of the kirk of 
Kinkell, still exhibits his arms and part of his name, Gilbertus de Grie . . . the 
arms displayed being those of the Greenlaws of that Ilk, in Berwickshire. 


The origin of the Battle of Harlaw was that the Duke of Albany, regent of the 
kingdom, had secured the Earldom of Boss by Boyal charter to his own son, John 
Stewart, Earl of Buchan, upon the Earldom being resigned in his favour by Euphemia, 
Countess of Boss, when, without heirs of her body, she retired into a convent. The 
wife of Donald, Lord of the Isles, was the rightful heiress should Euphemia die without 
issue. That great chief promptly disputed the legality of the action of the crown ; and, 
when he was refused redress, took up arms. 

The Lords of the Isles had too much pride of place to brook such insults. They 
had frequently affected indej)eiidence of the Scottish Crown and made treaties with 
England ; and Bobert II., in order to strengthen himself on the throne, had given to 
Donald's father large additions to his possessions, and thus had made him dangerously 
powerful. Albany's courage was, besides, known to be small, and rebellion was a, 
promising enough game to play, as well as one suited to the self-importance of the Heb- 
ridean chief. 

Donald, assembling his vassals, crossed from his island dominion, by Loch Carron 
and Strathpeffer, into Boss. The people of the Earldom submitted to him at once, 
being from of old less accustomed to look to the Scottish Kings as their lords than to 
the Norwegian vikings. Donald overpowered some forces sent against him at Dingwall, 
and soon made his headquarters at Inverness. Thence he issued a summons that all the 
fighting men of Enzie and the Boyne should join his standard. Sweeping through 
Moray and Strathbogy with little opposition, the Lord of the Isles made for Aberdeen, 
publishing his intention of giving it to the flames. His advance was checked in the 
Garioch. Albany had an excellent Lieutenant to send against the great Lord of the 
Isles, in the person of his nephew, Alexander Stewart, the valorous Earl of Mar, the hero 
of Liege, who was ambitious and brave enough to undertake any possible task. The 
Earl of Mar appeared at Aberdeen at the head of the bravest knights and gentlemen of 
Angus and the Mearns, and from thence was followed north to his own feudal lands of 
Inverurie by Bobert Davidson, Provost of Aberdeen — a force of the undaunted Aber- 
donian burgesses being added to the southern troops. 

Some of the Aberdeen men, Mr. Norval Clyne, in his " Ballads " from Scottish 

The Battle of Harlaw. 89 

history, gives with much ground of probability. They appear in the Council registers 
of Aberdeen, at a date corresponding to " Harlaw," as selected to go out against the 
" Ketterines". They are—" Simon Lamb, Duncan Hervy, Thomas Henderson, Thomas 
Trayle, Guilfrid Taillour, W. Jacson, William Johnson, John for Ihomas Moden, 
Walter Bower, John Moden, Henry Leith, Henry Stephen, Nicholas Plummer, Will 
Galbraith, Thomas Chekar, John Roule, James Leask, Thomas Boide, W. Tuiyn, Gib. 
Menzies, David Galrygyn, John Tidach, Duthac Lowman, John Yule (with a man), 
Andrew Guthrie, Finlay Montague, John Pypar, John Aitkynson, Alexander Benyn 
(with a man), Amyer Benyn (with a man)." 

' Tytler records as the leaders of the southern force — Sir Alexander Ogilvy, Sheriff 
of Angus ; Sir James Scrimgeour, Constable of Dundee, hereditary Standard-Bearer of 
Scotland ; Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum ; Sir Bobert Melville ; Sir William Abernethy, 
nephew to the Governor, Albany ; Sir Bobert Maule ; Sir Thomas Moray ; Alexander 
Strachan of Laurieston ; James Lovell ; and Alexander Stirling. 

The Earl of Mar, besides these, had summoned the vassals of the Earldom from 
the lands between Don and Dee, and those of the Garioch. Their rendezvous was, as 
we may believe, the camping ground of Bruce before the battle of Inverurie — the head- 
quarters of the Garioch Earldom, and, as it happened, the best muster place in prepara- 
tion for attacking the enemy at Harlaw. There he would be joined also by the royal 
vassals from Formartine and Buchan. Those from Strathbogy, and the Church vassals 
of the Upper Garioch must already have unavoidably retired in that direction before the 
approach of the Highland host. 

We know sufficiently well the names of those who held feoff lands under the Lord 
of the Garioch at that time to be able to denote the chiefs of the local force. 

The oldest vassal, David de Lesly, who had gone as a youth to the Holy Land, was 
apparently not then in the country. His retainers were probably led by Sir Andrew 
Leslie of Balquhain, the lawless baron of the stone rampart of Benachie, Master of the 
Horse (it is said) to the Earl of Mar. Six of Leslie's sons died in the fight. 

The beautiful moated mound of Caskieben was, doubtless, long ere then occupied 
by a strong fortalice, held by the clerkly Stephen de Johnston, the former " Secretar " 
of Mar's last male predecessor — the Earl Thomas. Stephen's son and heir — John de 
Johnston — must have attained manhood before the fight of Harlaw, on 24th July, 1411. 
The leal Laird of Caskieben, of that time, would, assuredly, be present at a field where 
both patriotism and fealty required of him military service ; situated, as Harlaw was, 
within two or three miles of the northern boundary of the Baron of Caskieben's own 

Sir Thomas Erskine of Balhaggarty, Conglass, &c, had his local following from the 
very skirts of the battle-field. Among them may have been " Thomas Bisset of Balhag- 
garty, the father of the fair maid of Kemnay," who was, in that generation, the subject 
of rough and unwelcome wooing on the part of one of the Leslies of Balquhain. Family 


90 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

tradition has it that an ancestor of the present tenants (Maitland) of Balhaggarty was a 
tenant at that period. 

Near at hand, also, were the Abercrombys of Aquhorthies, Aquhorsk, and Blair- 
daff, with their relatives of Pitrneddeu, Pitmachie, and Ardoyne, Melvil of Westhall ; 
Laurence Leith of Barns, Provost of Aberdeen afterwards, and his brother John, who 
was next year sent to England to negotiate the release of James I. ; William Tullidaff 
of that Ilk, laird then of the third part of Lentush and Rothmaise, and who fell in 
the battle ; Forbes of Lethinty ; and Barclay de Tolly, then laird of Bourtie. 

Who would lead the numerous vassals of the church in Inverurie, Monkegy, Kin- 
kell, Monymusk, Bayne, Daviot, and Culsalmond ? Glaster of Glack was among these, 
along with the holders of Badifurrow, Balbithan, Monymusk, Wartle, Newton, and all 
the numerous Templands. Singularly enough, the fighting chaplain of Earl James of 
Douglas at Otterburn was Archdeacon of Aberdeen about the time, and, of course, 
parson of Bayne ; and, doubtless, the cry of boot and saddle would have been very 
tempting to parson Lundie, even in his riper years. 

The burghers of Inverurie at' the time, and other local subjects of the regality, we 
can name to some extent. William de Blakhall was in the Garioch in 1398; Robert de 
Blakhall in 1118 ; in 1420 the family appears in fixed locality in the person of John 
Blakhall of that Ilk ; and held the office of Forester and Coroner of the Garioch about 
1500, but how long before we know not. The Blakhalls, whose possessions were ex- 
tensive, including Barra in Bourtie, were important in Inverurie. The Ferguses are 
located, by tradition, in Crichie and Inverurie at a date a century before Harlaw. 
Records of the period give us also the names of Bainzie, Mearns, Cantily, Anderson, 
Currie, Rae, Howieson, Brown, Atkynson, and Andrew. 

Bainzies, under the form of Badyno, appear a generation after Harlaw, residing 
where the Town Hall of 1660 stood, on two roods of land lying between lands of the 
Lord Superior of the Regality, and which may well have been a part of the original 
regality demesne, and a gift by Bobert Bruce in 1308 to the " Bainzie" of tradition ; to 
whom and his eleven sons, the King is said to have given all the lands of Inverurie, for 
their good service in the battle of Inverurie. Badyno, so distinguished in the position 
of his heritage, one would willingly imagine bearing, as an original Bainzie, the standard 
of the Garioch in the battle — the three open crowns, to which the Earl of Mar, of our 
narrative, himself added the checkered fesse. 

The nearest neighbours of Inverurie, the dwellers on the disintegrated Thanedom of 
Kintore held under the Earl of Moray, had as landlords families named Chalmers and 
Gothnyss. Beyond were the retainers of the Marischal from Hallforest, who would 
mingle with the force from Buchan which Sir Alexander Keith brought into the field — 
most of them to lie there. 

The tenants of Kemnay would attend upon their lord, Sir Robert Melville of Glen- 
bervie, Sheriff of the Mearns, who came north with the Earl. The subsequent fate of 

The Buttle of Hurlaw. 91 

the Sheriff partook of the worst barbarity of that wild time. His conduct in office had 
been so harsh, and so often complained of to the Eegent, that Albany, who detested 
trouble, allowed to escape from his lips the impatient words — " Sorra gin the Shirra was 
sodden and suppit in broo ". The exclamation was by the Sheriff's enemies promptly 
interpreted as a sentence pronounced against the object of popular hatred, and was 
literally carried into execution — the murderers giving what they thought legal comple- 
tion to the transaction by each of them actually swallowing some spoonfuls of their hor- 
rible pot. 

The immediate Crown vassals of Strathbogy are said, by one of the poetical accounts 
of the battle, to have followed " Bisset," the son or grandson of Walter of Lessendrum, 
the Sheriff of Banffshire in 1364. The future lord of Strathbogy, Alexander Seton, 
husband of the heiress, was in the battle. He had been Lord of Gordon from before 

The Formartine vassals and tenants, from Turriff to Tolquhon, would doubtless 
muster strongly under their chief, Sir Henry Preston of Fyvie, whose Preston tower of 
1400 still associates him with the grand old castle. Of his two daughters, one, Marjorie 
already married, may have been widowed by the fight. Those two ladies were after- 
wards to divide their father's lands and begin new families — Meldrum of Fyvie, and 
Forbes of Tolquhon. Young Meldrum should have been in Preston's ^band in the 
tumultuary battle if the Laird of Fyvie was there in person. 

It was in that generation that the now wide-spread family of Forbes made its 
quadruple divergence into the houses of Drumminnor, Brux, Pitsligo, and Tolquhon ;— 
Alister Cam marrying the heiress of Sir Hugh Cameron of Brux, the descendant of Earl 
Thomas of Mar's squire, became the first Forbes of Brux ; and Sir John, his brother, 
became the husband of Marjorie Preston, a widow, whose representative, and that of the 
long line of Tolquhon, is Mr. Forbes Leitli of Whitehaugh. Marjorie Preston married 
Sir John Forbes, in her widowhood, in 1420. 

Of the Highland army we know only that Donald of the Isles had as his second in 
command his nephew, Hector Maclean of Duart, who was married to a daughter of the 
Earl of Douglas, and that he was also followed by the Chief of Macintosh. Maclean fell 
on the field of Harlaw, as did also, his personal opponent in that encounter — Sir Alex- 
ander Irvine of Drum. One of the poetical accounts of the battle, seemingly correct in 
many respects, adds Cameron of Lochiel to the followers of the Lord of the Isles, and 
makes him, when he stood on the field, the last of Donald's strong supporters, yield 
himself after the chief's flight, to Black Eobert of Brux, Lochiel's kinsman— a Cameron. 
The account does not, however, agree with either name or date in the Brux family. 

The configuration of the district which was the scene of the terrible battle enables 
us with confidence to imagine the disposition of the contending forces. The Islesmen 
and their forced levies from Eoss and Moray, probably taking the least defensible 
entrance to the Garioch across the Foudland pass, would sweep along the braes of Cul- 

92 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioeh. 

salrnond and the tableland of Eayne ; the population of all the Upper Garioeh escaping 
before them to the Don to the protection of the royal forces. Keeping the rising 
grounds, they would cross Sillerstrind, and immediately find themselves in the advanta- 
geous position which they took up on the Harelaw. It was a confined one, but so much 
the more adapted to the crowded wrestle which the Highlanders made the battle become. 
No cavalry could do much on the narrow platform. On the west side a steep declivity 
lay between it and the soft bed of the Ury ; eastward, a wide morass would have been 
fatal to the movements of horse or heavy armed foot-soldiers ; on the north, they had 
merely the country which they had already swept clear of possible enemies. Then- 
position was only approachable, as Mar did assail it, by the long slopes of Balhaggarty, 
to reach which the Ury or the Lochter had to be crossed. 

The immediate advance of the Earl of Mar upon Donald's position was from Inver- 
urie, about three miles south of Hurlaw. He came from Aberdeen with the Angus and 
Mearns levies, and Drum and the Deeside barons, from Mowat of Abergeldy downwards ; 
accompanied also by Provost Davidson, who, by one account, had Eose of Kilravock as 
his second in command. At Inverurie they would find the muster of the Garioeh 
vassals and not a few companions, met there for safety ; while the Donside men of Mar, 
summoned from Corgarff to Craigievar, and the Forbeses from within their boundaries, 
" Assach and Massach (Essat and Mossat), Bogie and Don," would hastily arrive by the 
" Lord's Throat " and the pass of Corrennie. The readiest and most secure position 
available to the royal forces — only one-tenth of the insurgents in number — was the 
Stanners, a field of 30 acres, encompassed on all but a few yards of its circumference 
by defensible water ; and, in connection with it, the traditional camping ground of 
King Eobert's weak force before the battle of Inverurie ; which was the Hill of Crichie 
and the Haugh of Ardtannies, and, it is likely, the Corseman Hill, commanding the 

If the practised leader of the royalists approached the position of his enemy in the 
three lines in which he is described as offering battle, the lie of the country gave the 
greatest facility for the movement. The left wing of his force would proceed by the 
path across the Corseman Hill of the Davo, by Blackball, Tempin Walls, and the two 
lines of road on the braes of Drimmies, and come down upon the Castle of Balquhain 
as a strong position, right in face of the enemy posted on Harlaw. The Leslies, the 
lords of the castle, all accounts say, were stationed in the left wing at the battle. The 
right wing, crossing the Ury to Caskieben, and making for the heights of Selby, would 
have a line of road on to Auld Bourty, where, from the Goblauch's old possession, they 
would see the position of the Highlanders across C'olliehill and the Lochter. The 
mounted portion of the Earl's power, which included the mail-clad knights, whom, along 
with the men in armour, he made his vanguard in the battle, would have a convenient 
line of road along the King's Gait of Inverurie, avoiding the Powtate Loch by passing 
along the highest egress from the town, over the site of the present West High Street 

The Battle of Harlow. 93 

School, and would cross the Ury at Howford. The three lines of march would bring 
the forces upon the braes of Balhaggarty, on three sides, converging towards the front 
of the Highland army. 

The rebels numbered 10,000 ; the Eegent's forces only about a tenth of that 
amount, but having the great advantage of comprehending a compact battalion of fully 
equipped knights and men-at-arms. These, under the command of the Constable of 
Dundee, Mar put in the front, along with the Sheriff of Angus and his following, and 
it is likely, Provost Davidson and the burgesses of Aberdeen. He himself led the main 
army in the centre, placing Drum and the Leiths, Leslies, and Gordons on the left, 
while the Keiths and the Forbeses were together, it would seem, on the right. The 
Maules, Morays, Straitons, Stirlings, and Lovels, headed by their chiefs, and with their 
banners and pennoncelles waving amid their clumps of spears, swelled the force. The 
battle was a contest of arms against numbers, where equal bravery brought up both 
sides to exhausting carnage. The mailed Lowlanders had no difficulty in piercing the 
masses of the Celts, but did so only to be swallowed up, and die along with them, or 
find their way out of the melee by the naked crowd being sufficiently hewn down. The 
van composed of the steel clad knights was mostly butchered by the swarms of High, 
landers who, armed only with sword and dirk, fastened upon the individual horses and 
their riders. The Constable of Dundee, the Provost of Aberdeen, and the mass of their 
followers were slain; the Sheriff of Angus also, Sir Alexander Irvine, Sir Eobert Maule, 
Sir Thomas Moray, William Abernethy, Alexander Straiton, James Lovel, Alexander 
Stirling, Gilbert de Greenlaw, and about 500 men-at-arms, including the principal 
gentry of Buchan. Mar himself with a small number of the survivors continued the 
battle until nightfall. When the fight ceased it was found that Donald had retreated 
by Benachie towards the West. The chiefs of Maclean and Macintosh were among the 
fallen, and many a spot around continued long to bear the name of some of those who 
perished in the fight. The conqueror' was unable to pursue the fugitives, and remained 
on the field less a victor than deserted by his opponents. The Duke of Albany was 
spurred by the tremendous necessity of the case into a brave action, and immediately 
after raised a sufficient force to pursue Donald to his island fastnesses, where, in the 
following year, he reduced him to temporary subjection. Yet in a short time after, 
when Mar had added to his other offices that of Admiral of the Kingdom, the Islesmen, 
again in insurrection under a relative of Donald, met their old antagonist, and had their 
turn of victory, at Inverlochy. The supremacy of lowland authority was, however, 
permanently secured by this terrible trial of strength at Harlaw. 

The only monumental record of the battle is the upper half of the tombstone of 
Gilbert de Greenlaw, within the roofless walls of the once richly-ornamented Templar 
Church of Kinkell. The knightly figure chiselled on the stone is clad in mail of chain 
or net work, perhaps an evidence of that style of armour having been in use at the time. 
A borrowed kind of sepulchral immortality was, two centuries after, sought by means of 

94 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

the broken stone to be secured on behalf of John Forbes, laird of Ardinurdo, who died 
in 1592, aged 66, and had his decease recorded on the reverse side. 

The battle of Harlaw left a deep impression on the national mind. Two musical 
airs, both very ancient now, and three ballad narratives of it exist. Aytoun's Ballads 
include two of these. One, a long and largely descriptive ballad, was known before 
1600. The other, which was put in print first by Aytoun, as it was lately sung in the 
Garioch, has more of the heroic character. The third poetical account is contained in a 
poem called " The Don," originally printed in 1655. The three give the same general 
account of the battle ; the second ballad incorrectly making the Lord of the Isles perish 
in the fight, and be buried in Leggat's Den, " a lang mile frae Harlaw". " The Don "■ 
makes the tenant of that grave Maclean, the second in command. A stone in a place 
called Leggat's Den close by used to be spoken of as marking the grave. A large whin- 
stone monolith, about 200 yards westward of the farm-houses of Harlaw, is said to 
mark the burial place of the females who had followed the Highland host and perished. 

One tragical incident of the fight given in " The Don," — that Drum and Maclean 
sought each other in the fight, and fell by each other's swords — is in agreement with the 
traditions of both families. Another romantic legend relates that Sir Alexander Irvine 
on his way to the Garioch became oppressed by a presentiment of death in the expected 
conflict, and sitting down with his brother on a large " yird stane " in Skene, thereafter 
called Drum's Stane, made his " tesment". He told his brother that he had been mar- 
ried under some unwelcome influence, and had never lived with his lady as her husband, 
which gave him great concern ; and he wished him, should he come safe out of the 
battle, but brotherless, to marry the virgin widow, as the lands would be his. The ap- 
pearance of the name of Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum in charters later than the date of 
Harlaw is accounted for by the family tradition that the brother of the slain knight 
adopted the same Christian name, and that there was also a son, Alexander ; whose 
legitimacy would of course invalidate the story of the " tesment". 

The poem of " The Don " places Keith and Forbes together in the van at the 
head of clan Forbes, beginning the fight — Keith and Drum leading the final charge to- 
gether which overthrew the power of Maclean. The poem, after the death of Maclean 
by Drum's onset, makes Donald in revenge, rushing in person on the victorious foe, kill 
Provost Davidson and bear back Kilravock and the Aberdeen men, before he sought 
safety in flight. The body of the valiant Provost was carried to Aberdeen, where, three 
centuries after, in preparing the foundation of the "West Church then to be rebuilt, his 
grave was discovered. A silk skull cap, which had been placed on his head, was in good 

The Keith believed in the family annals to have been at Harlaw was Sir Alexander 
Keith, the Knight of Grandholm, third son of the aged Marischal, William Lord Keith. 
Sir Alexander was a younger brother of the Keith, who, second in command in his 
father's stead at Otterburn, took prisoner Ralph Percy, after the fall of Douglas. He 

The Battle of Harlaw. 95 

was uncle to a yet more celebrated man, the Duke of Albany's son, John Stewart, Earl 
of Buchan, the Constable of France, and Earl of Deveraux, 1421. 

The only Garioch personage whose death at Harlaw is preserved in legal record, 
is William Tullidaff of that Ilk, one of the Church vassals in Eayne, whose son was 
served heir to him in 1413, with exemption from feudal payment, according to an Act 
passed by the Governor, Albany, in favour of the sons of those who fell at Harlaw, as 
Bruce had provided in the case of the slain at the battle of Inverurie. 

The Pleyfauld in the estate of Harlaw, probably marks the chief scene of the con- 
flict according to early tradition. 

The following ballad, exhibiting the exaggerated study of effect which belongs to 
heroic poetry, and introducing the two well-known heroes of Aberdeenshire ballads, Sir 
James the Rose and Sir John the Graeme, continued until the present generation to be 
sung in the Garioch. It first got into print in Professor Aytoun's Ballad* of Scotland, 
communicated to him by Lady Jane Scott, who, probably, got it from a member of the 
Elphinstone family in the Garioch. A copy containing three more verses appeared in 
" Xotes and Queries," vol. vii., May 20, 1865, communicated by Mr. A. Ferguson ; — 

As I came in by Dunideer 

And down by Netherha', 
There were fifty thousand Hielanmen, 
All marching to Harlaw ; 
(Chorus) — Wi' a drie, drie, drie de dronlie drie. 

As I came on and farther on 

And down and by JBalquhain, 
Oh, there I met Sir James the Rose, 

Wi' him Sir John the Graeme. 

" Oh, came ye frae the Hielans, man '! 
And came ye a' the wye ? 
Saw ye Macdonal and his men 
Come marching frae the Skye ? " 

" Yes, she came frae the Hielans, jnan, » 

And she came a' the wye, 
And she saw Macdonal and his men 
Come marching frae the Skye. " 

" Oh, were ye near and near aneuch ? 
Did ye their numbers see ? 
Come, tell to me, John Hielanman, 
What might their numbers be 1 " 

' ' Yes, she was near and near aneuch, 
And she their numbers saw ; 
There were fifty thousand Hielanmen 
A' marching to Harlaw." 

" If that be true," quo' James the Rose, 
"We'll no come meikle speed : 
We'll cry upon our merry men, 
And turn our horses' heids." 

" Oh no, oh no," quo' John the Graeme, 
"That thing maun never be ; 
The gallant Graemes were never beat — 
We'lltry what we cau dee." 

96 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

As I came on, and farther on, 
And down and by Harlaw ; 

They fell full close on ilka side, 
Sic fun ye never saw. 

They fell full close on ilka side, 

Sic fun ye never saw ; 
For Hielau swords gaed clash for clash 

At the battle of Harlaw. 

The Hielanmen with their lang swords, 

They laid on us full sair ; 
And they drave back our merry men 

Three acres' breadlh or mair. 

Brave Forbes did to his brother say — 
" Now, brother, dinna ye see, 
They beat us back on ilka side, 
And we'll be forced to flee ! " 

" Oh no, oh no, my blither dear, 
That thing maun never be ; 
Tak ye your guid sword in your hand 
And come your ways with me." 

' ' Oh no, oh no, rny brither dear, 
The elans they are ower Strang ; 
And they drive back our merry men, 
With swords baith sharp and lang." 

Brave Forbes unto his men did say — 
"Now take your rest awhile, 
Until I send to Drumminnor, 
To fetch my coat of mail." 

Brave Fobes' henchman then did ride, 
And his horse did not fail ! 

For in twa hours and a quarter 
He brought the coat of mail. 

Then back to back the brithers twa, 
Gaed in amang the thrang ; 

And they swept down the Hielanmen, 
With swords baith sharp and lang. 

Macdonal he was young and stout, 

Had on his coat of mail, 
And he has gane out thro' them all, 

To try his hand himsel'. 

The first ae stroke that Forbes struck, 
Made the great Macdonal reel, 

The second stroke that Forbes struck, 
The brave Macdonal fell. 

And siccan a pilleurichie, 

The like ye never saw, 
As was amang the Hielanmen 

When they saw Macdonal fa'. 

And when they saw that he was deid, 
They turned and ran awa ' ; 

And they buried him at Leggat's Den, 
A lang mile frae Harlaw. 

The Battle of Harlaw. 97 

They rode, they ran, and some did gang— 

They were of small record, 
For Forbes and his merry men, 

Slew maist all by the road. 

On llunonday, at morning, 

The battle it began; 
On Saturday, at gloaming, 

Ye'd scarce tell wha had wan. 

An sick a weary burying, 

The like ye never saw, 
As there was the Sunday after that, 

On the muirs down by Harlaw. 

ADd if Hielah lasses speer at ye 

For them that gaed awa', 
Ye may tell them plain, and plain enough, 

They're sleeping at Harlaw. 

Another version, which the writer has seen, of the ballad taken down from singing, 
makes the Graeme propose, and Sir James the Eose reject, the counsel of prudence — 

Quo' John the Graeme to James the Rose, 

We will sheath our swords wi' speed. 
We will call to us our merry men, 

And lightlie mount our steed. 

For no ! for no ! John the Graeme, 

Sic things we must not do, 
The clan of Rose was never cowards, 

We will try their valour noo. 

The same version also, after the clansman's great feat of riding, — going to Druminnor 
from Harlaw for a coat of mail, and bringing it in two hours and a quarter — has the 
following : — 

Lord Forbes, being young and stout, 

Got on the coat of mail, 
And so boldly he marched up the ranks, 
To fecht wi' him himsel'. 

The first chap that Macdonal gied, 

He wounded him a deal ; 
The first chap that Brave Forbes gied, 

The proud Macdonal fell. 

The termination, with the same study of effect, is more like the roughness of an early 
ballad than in the printed version : 

Out o' ninety thousan' men, 

Gaed hame but thirty-three ; 
And out o' sixty thousan' men, 

Gaed hame but fifty-five. 

Gin ony body spier at ye 

For the men ye took awa', 
They're sleepin' souu', and in their sheen, 

I' the howe aneath Harlaw. 

The intensity of the impression left by the great battle upon the mind of the nation 
is well seen in the exaggerations of its details, which became the popular bebef, through 


98 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

this ballad. The one day's conflict represented by a struggle from " Munondie at 
inornin' " to " Setterdie at gloamin' " ; the expansion of the numbers in the contending 
armies from ten thousand and one thousand respectively, to ninety thousand on one 
side, and sixty thousand on the other ; and the extinction of the great hosts till there 
remained only thirty-three of the larger, and but fifty-five of the victorious army ; and 
the death of the great rebel, all present an appropriate mythical picture of the import- 
ance of the battle. 

The heroic elements of the ballad, absolutely simple in narrative and void of mag- 
nifying adjectives, producing its effects by unstinted use of large exploits and physical 
grandeur of size or numbers, refers the composition to a very early date. 

It bears, to a smaller extent, the same character that distinguishes the Titanic pic 
tures in "Lang Johnnie More," which probably celebrates the greatness of the Forheses, 
and of the Leslies, represented by " Jock o' Kbth " and " Jock o' Benachie," two gig- 
antic personages whose size and swiftness paralysed the English King and his Court 
with fear. 

Both ballads were familiar in farm kitchens in the present generation ; and also 
another, celebrating the two companion knights of the Harlaw ballad, Sir James the Bose 
and Sir John the Graeme (pronounced in singing, Grime), if its reference be not to de- 
scendants bearing the same names, since the ballad incidentally makes them to have 
been at Floddsn. In the " Buchanshire Tragedy," the two knights are mortal foes, 
because of their being competitors for the hand of the Earl of Buchan's fair daughter ; 
and they slew each other in the woods of Deer, where Graeme, with four followers, fell 
upon his rival. Sir James' personal appearance is grandly described in the ballad : — 

His height was like the tufted fir, 

That crowns the mountain's brow ; 
And, waving o'er his shoulders broad, 
His locks of yellow flew. 

Chapter IV. 

Rise of New Families — Progress of Estates— Kincraigie, Wardes, Pitcaple, Lofthillock, Leslie, 
Meldrum, Olack, Lelhinty, Westhall, Auehlevcn, Ardoyne, Harlow, Braco, Drimmics, Kemnay, 
Blackhall, Rolhmaise, Lentush, Mounie, Blair, Barra, Bourtie, Thornton, Badifurrow, Redder- 
wick, Cragforthic, Rothynorman, Pitblaine— Condition of Garioch Lairds — Mouse of Leslie — 
Lord Erskine. State of Society.— Europe distracted — Morals in Scotland — Sir Andrew 
Leslie — Death of the Earl of Mar — King James I. at Christ's Kirk. Local Government. — 
Lords of the Garioch — William de St. Clair, &e. — Alienation of Regality Lands— Winton of 
Drumdumoch—Kyng of Barra— Lord Elphinstone — Leslie of Wardes — St. Serve of Monkegy. 
The Seton-Gordon — Jock and Tarn Gordon— Bonds of Manrent — Gordon and Forbes Factions. 
The Burgh — Historical appearance — Individuals — Burgh Laws — Walter Yidill, Vicai — 
Burgh Heritors — Officials— Neighbours of the Burgh. SENTIMENT. — Pious Services and Violence 
— Pilgrimages. Local Clergy. — Vicars of Inverurie — Parsons of Kinkcll — Priory of Mony- 
musk — Kirk of Kemnay — Chapel of the Garioch- Fctterncar. Learning. — King's College — 
Bishop Elphinstone— Landed Gentry — Studies Pursued — Bishop Dunbar — Building of Brig o 
Dee — Alexander Galloway — Science about 1500 — The Claik Geis. Life among the Barons. — 
Court of Session — Raid upon Aberdeen — Faction Warfare — Slaughters. Parochial Matters. — 
Discipline - Parochial Elections. Eve of the REFORMATION. — Attempt to reform the Diocese — 
Queen Mary at Bulquhain — The Chapel of the Garioch — The last of the Priests. 


'"il^HE century and a half which followed the epochal event of Harlaw, was a period 
in the history of the Garioch as distinctly marked as the prehistoric ages of 
geology. A new genealogical formation begins in it ; which, by the time of the 
Reformation, had developed into wide spread families, while some of the more early 
surnames became extinct. The original house of Leslie, the children of Bartolf, 
appears balanced by the families of Abercromby, Leith, Forbes, Johnston, Blakhall, 
Seton, and Elphinstone. 

Along with the settlement of those names, new in the Garioch at the period now 
indicated, social order also assumed a different phase. The subordination to law, estab- 
lished by the last of Scotland's powerful kings, which, after his death, came to depend 
upon the isolated, or combined, action of patriotic nobles, and in the Garioch had always 
the advantage of being upheld by a strong Lord Superior of the Regality, was provided 
for in that district, after the line of its feudal Lords of Regality had teiminated, by the 
appointment of a king's lieutenant, or hereditary Sheriff ; who for a long series of years, 
was himself the head of the locally new house of Seton-Gordon. 

100 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Gurioch. 

The influence of that representative of the Sovereign was strengthened by means 
of local bonds of alliance with some of the principal families. The same kind of arrange- 
ment was speedily resorted to by the Forbeses, and other families connected with that 
name by the ties of blood or friendship, for the purpose of keeping the exercise of 
the authority delegated to the head of the Gordon, or Huntly family, within legitimate, 
or reasonable, bounds. 

King James I. laid the foundation for a more satisfactory mode of administering 
the law than had prevailed previous to his reign ; but it was not until the time of King 
James V., that the College of Justice, or Court of Session, was established ; although in 
a considerably different basis from its present constitution. 

After the time of Harlaw, the still predominating race of the Leslies was developing 
into new forms, which reduced the old stock into the position of being little more than 
feudal Superiors of their ancient possessions situated in the Garioch. The earliest off- 
shoot of that great house was about to blossom into an Earldom — that of Eothes — and 
the second branch, which had became Barons of Balquhain in 1 340, was in the succeed- 
ing century progenitor, by Sir William, 4th Baron, of four cadets — afterwards con- 
spicuous in the Garioch — viz., Kincraigie, Wardes, New Leslie, and Pitcaple. The 
ancestors of these new houses had of course to be provided for by portions of the pater- 
nal barony. William, the second son of Sir William, by Elizabeth Fraser, his first wife, 
daughter of Lord Lovat, bought Kincraigie in 1470 from his brother Alexander, the 
next Baron. Alexander and George were sons by Balquhain's second wife, Agnes Irvine 
of Drum. Alexander got Wardes, Drimmies, and Middleton from his father about 1460. 
David Leslie got Pitcaple, in 1457, off the Balquhain lands. He was Sir William's son 
by his third wife, Euphemia Lindsay, a grand-daughter of the Earl of Crawford. 

Before those estates were given off the Balquhain lands, an addition was made to 
the barony, in 1433, by one of the last of the charters issued by Alexander Stewart, Earl 
of Mar, conferring upon Sir William the farms of Selby and Lofthillock in Monkegy. 

The Abercrombys, Garioch lairds before 1350, continued on the banks of the Gadie 
and of the Don until 1690. They acquired the family distinction of Birkenbog in the 
Boyne, about 1500. 

The Leiths appear about the same period of rise with the Abercrombys ; and in the 
families of Leith Hay of Leithhall and Leith of Freefield they continue to possess landed 
estates near their original possessions. 

In the latter half of the fourteenth century, the Johnstons, now of that Ilk, 
formerly of Caskieben, first appear as heritors in the Garioch, at Caskieben ; and from 
1380 to about 1633 fill a large place in the history of the Garioch. 

The Glasters of Lumgair, in the Mearns, by a marriage with Alice Pilmor, who was 
heiress of Glack, in Daviot parish, in 1381, came into possession of that church feoff in 
1418, upon her death, and continued until 1492, when Andrew Elphinstone of Selmys 
possessed Glack, except a tenement sold to John Gordon of Lumgair, apparently the 

Rise of New Families. 101 

purchaser of most of the Glaster property. Andrew Elphinstone, in 1499, disponed Glack 
to his younger brother, Nicholas, whose descendants were lairds of Glack for 250 years. 
James, the elder brother of Andrew, was the grandfather of the first Lord Elphinstone. 

William Seton, second son of the first Seton Gordon, and brother of the first 
Earl of Huntly, (and who was killed, in 1452, in the battle of Brechin, fought by the 
Earl against the rebel Earl of Crawford,) was the first of the Garioch Setons. He was 
the husband of the heiress of Meldrum, and the ancestor of the Setons of Meldrum, 
Blair, Barra, Bourtie and Mounie. 

Alexander Seton, Chancellor of Aberdeen and Vicar of Bethelnie, in 1566, second 
son of the fourth Seton of Meldrum, was apparently the first Seton of Mounie, in 
Daviot parish. The estate has continued ever since in the same name, except from 
1623 to 1714, during which period it was held by Sir Robert Farquhar and others. 
The present holders are of the Pitmedden family, descended from a grand-nephew of 
the Chancellor. Blair, in Bourtie parish, which had belonged to George Leith of Barnes 
(ob. 1505), came to the Chancellor's father, Alexander Seton of Meldrum, by a second 
marriage with Janet Leith, daughter of George, and their son, John, appears in 1526 
heir to his father in half the lands of Auchleven, Drumrossy, &c. Blair continued in 
the name of Seton until the beginning of the eighteenth century, when the heiress 
married a gentleman of the name of Stewart. Barra and Bourtie, in the same parish, 
were in 1598 in the hands respectively of George Seton, Chancellor of Aberdeen, and 
James, his brother, ancestors of the Setons of Pitmedden, sons, by a second marriage, 
of William Seton of Meldrum, the eldest brother of the chancellor, Alexander. 

The chief vassals of the Earls of Mar — the Forbeses of Puttachie — branching into 
four great divisions about the date of Harlaw, sent numerous cadets widely over the 
shire. They appear in the Garioch more in the alliances of houses for mutual defence, 
than in the character of landed proprietors, until the era of the Reformation. The 
Pitsligo Forbeses, however, in the fifteenth century, had Kinaldie and other properties, 
one of which, Lethinty in Logiedurno parish, they possessed from 1455 until the 
Civil War. 

In 1455, Alexander Forbes of Kinaldie held Lethinty, with William Grant as 
tenant of the town. He died in 1477, and in 1485, his grandson, Alexander Forbes, 
was served heir to him, as Alexander Forbes of Kinaldie and Pitsligo, in the lands 
of Lethinty, held of the King as Earl of the Garioch, for a pair of spurs valued at 
twenty merits, and ten pounds in times of peace. 

Westhall belonged to John Melvil of Harviston from some date anterior to 1451, 
when he sold it to Alexander Bamsay, from whose brother Edward Kamsay, Ingeram, 
bishop of Aberdeen, purchased it three years later, and mortified it for the support of a 
chaplainry in Aberdeen for the spiritual weal of the founder, of King James II. and 
of his queen, and of David Lindsay, Earl of Crawford. 

Auchleven, further up the Gadie, was held of the Earl of Mar in 1453, by Walter 


102 Inverurie and tlie Earldom of tJie Garioch. 

Ogilvy of Deskford, an ancestor of the Earls of Findlater. In that year he sold from 
out of it an annual rent of six merks to Lawrence Pyot, Archdeacon of Aberdeen ; 
who, half an year afterwards, resold it to Canon John Clatt, famous in the history of 
the Aberdeen Guildry. Canon Clatt employed it in the foundation of a mass for, 
amongst some others, the soul of that favourite of the Aberdonians, Alexander Stewart, 
Earl of Mar. Walter Ogilvy of Auchleven appears in 1487; but in 1488, the King, 
as tutor of his son, John, Earl of Mar, confirmed a charter of Auchleven, Ardoyne, 
and Harlaw, executed by Sir John Wemyss of that Ilk, in favour of his son, David. 
Two years after, David Wemyss sold it to Henry Leith of Barnes, who was previously 
proprietor of that estate. The reddendo, to the Earl of Mar, was a gilt spur, to be paid 
at Auchleven yearly. 

A portion of the Earldom yet further west, viz., Duncanston and Glanderston, with 
the mill, Rochmuriel and Tullefoure, was sometime later, in 1507, given to Lord Elphin- 
stone, one of the man}'' locum tenentes of the extruded Lords of the Garioch. 

In 1468, the last Melville of Kemnay — apparently the son of the obnoxious Sheriff 
— died, and his daughter's husband, Sir John Auchinleck of that Ilk, became proprietor 
of both Glenbervie and Kemnay. Two generations later, the heiress of the Auchinleck 
family married Sir William Douglas, second son of Archibald, 5th Earl of Angus. Five 
generations of Douglases in succession owned Kemnay jointly with Glenbervie. 

About 1480, Alexander Glaster of Glack sold Little Warthill to John Gordon 
of Auchleuehry. Cruickshank of Tillymorgan acquired them immediately after, 
whose daughter, Christian, married the first of the long line of the Leslies of Warthill, 
who still hold the property of their ancestress. 

The family of Cruickshank continued to possess Tillymorgan down to the time of 
the Commonwealth. 

About the time that Glack passed to the Elphinstones, the second laird of Bal- 
quhain parted with the north end of the parish of Inverurie to Patrick Gordon of Methlic, 
ancestor of the Earl of Aberdeen, to whom Braco, a part of the same lands, belonged 
in 1596. The deed of disposition preserves some names of places now little heard of, 
along with others still in use, viz., Brawkawche, Myddiltone, Knock of Kynblewis, 
Drummies, Glaschaw, Mill of Glaschaw, and the Wood of Drumcoutane. 

The family of Blakhall of that Ilk, Coroners and Foresters of the Garioch, were 
conspicuous in the district for two centuries from 1447; when the name and designation 
of that Ilk first appear in conjunction. We may, however, fairly assume William 
de Blakhall, who in 1398 served on a jury of inquest retouring William de Tullidaff 
heir in a third part of Lentush and Rothmaise to his father, John Tullidaff, to have 
been of the same family. In the beginning of the sixteenth century, the principal 
branch of the family owned, besides Blakhall, the lands now called Little Folia. They 
possessed Blakhall until 1643. 

Barra in Bourtie, appears for the first time about the same date, partly held by a 

Rise of New Families. 103 

family named Kyng, and partly by a branch of the Blakhall house, proprietors at the 
same time of Finnersie. Both had been possessed by John Blakhall, whose widow, 
Margaret Burnet, was found entitled to her terce in 1505. In 1517, William Blakhall 
was infeft in half of all the lands of Baroeht, Wester Eowis, Fallawe, Essenheid, 
Furdalhous, sixth part of Petgovny, half of the Mill of Bourtie, and a third part of 
Meikle and Little Finnersie, and others. William Blakhall paid tax for his part of 
Barra in 1548. The rest of Barra belonged, in 1493, to James Kyng, whose wife was 
Marjorie Barclay, probably a sister of the neighbouring laird of Bourtie. 

The genealogy of King of Barra may be conveniently stated here, as far as 
ascertainable from the Spalding Club publications and Douglas. They had evidently 
been part proprietors of Barra with the Blakhall family, and of Bourtie with the 
Barclays. In 1493, James King of Bourtie resigned half of the lands of Westerhouse 
(part of Barra), in the hands of John, Earl of Mar and Garioch, for new infeftment to 
himself and Marjorie Barclay his spouse. Walter Barclay of Towie took instruments. 
He still appears James King of Bourtie in 1505. William King of Bourtie appears in 
1506 ; and in 1548 was taxed for his part of Barra and of Bourtie, 3 lbs. William King 
of Barra was served his father's heir in Westerhouse in April, 1547 (Douglas); and had 
given to his son, James King, in 1537, a charter of Fallawe (a part of Barra which 
WUliam Blakhall possessed in 1517), to himself and Isabella Gray his wife, and hi 1548 a 
charter of Westerhouse, and of half the lands of Barra of Bourtie. In 1577, William 
King was served heir to his father, James, in half of the lands of Barra, reserving life- 
rent to his mother, Isabella Gray. A sister, Janet, had a life-rent charter of Wray in 

1586. A much-defaced tombstone, in Bourtie churchyard, records the death of Hay, 

the mother, and la. King, the spouse of some laird, or tenant, of Colliehill, in the years 
1579 and 1581. In 1595, James Cheyne of Straloch and William King of Barra were 
at " deadlie feud," and in 1596, William King of Barra and Ins brother David and their 
accomplices killed Alexander Seton, Youuger of Meldrum. Douglas states that James 
King got a charter of. Barra, Westtrhouse, &c., between 1584 and 1587 ; and 
had a son, Sir James King, a soldier under Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden ; 
who had a command in the army of King Charles I., and was ennobled, by the latter, 
as Lord Eythin, in 1642. Col. Boss King of Tertowie represents a brother of Lord 
Eythin, and possesses a full-length, life-size portrait of the Peer. 

The slaughter referred to may have arisen in some dispute about the transfer of the 
lands. In 1595, William Leslie, an important burgess of Inverurie, was in possession 
of a fourth part of the estate of Barra. 

Elizabeth Seton, only child and heiress of the murdered heir-apparent of Meldrum, 
married the tutor of Cromarty ; and originated the line of Urquharts of Meldrum, still 
in possession of that estate. 

Thornton, adjoining the Barra lands, belonged, before 1445, to a family named 
Stradachane or Strachane ; David Stradachane being in that year the son and heir- 

lOt Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

apparent. He was himself laird in 1507 and 1512. The famdy afterwards, before 1663, 
possessed Monboddo in the Mearns. Alexander Strachan of Thornton was grandfather 
of Patrick Forbes of Corse, Bishop of Aberdeen in 1619, and of his brother, the first 
Forbes of Craigievar. 

It was in the end of the period now treated of that a number of estates held 
by religious houses came into the hands of private individuals, although many of them 
were, long before, held on lease. Of this class were the lands of Badifurrow in 
Inverurie, Balbithax, Hedderwick, and Cragforthie in Monkegy, and the kirklands 
of that parish. These belonged, for 400 years, to the Abbey of Lindores, and appear 
first in charters only after a temporal lordship of Lindores was erected, out of the Abbey- 
lands, by James VI. in 1 600. 

Most of the parish of Monytnusk was in the hands of the Priory until Mr. Duncan 
Forbes, son of the laird of Corsindae, obtained, in 1549, a charter of the lands from 
David Farlie, then Prior. 

Fetternear and the kirklands of Kinkell both became, for the first time, the subject 
of charters, when the Bishop of Aberdeen conveyed them, in 1543, to George, Earl of 
Huntly, in acknowledgment of his services in protecting the Cathedral. 

The farms in all parts of the country called Templand, formed part of the 
property of the Knight Templars, along with some churches, among which was Kinkell, 
with its six subordinate chapels. They were in lay possession in the fifteenth century. 

Just outside the Garioch, the barony of Rothynorman was part of the lands entaded 
by Norman de Leslie, in 1390 ; and became, along with the lands of Cushnie, the pro- 
perty of the Rothes house ; Cushnie continuing so partly until 1682. 

Among the names disappearing after Harlaw from the Garioch are De Garviach, 
Pilmor, and Tullidaff. Rothmaise and Lentush, forming the estate of Adam of 
Pane, before 1304, were, sometime before Harlaw, in the hands of John of Tullidaff, 
whose son, William, fell at Harlaw. Andrew de Tullidaff was, on 9th May, 1413, two 
years afterwards, retoured heir to his father, William, in the court of the bishop, Gilbert 
de Greenlaw, at Pane. Robert de Buthergask and John Thomson of Pitblaine were 
jurymen on the inquest. The name is perpetuated in Tullidaff's Cairn, near the Kirk of 
Rayne, where the last of the line was killed in revenge of the supposed slaughter of the 
first Leslie of Warthill, in Lowrin Fair. 

The family of Leslie closed the first section of its long history shortly after Harlaw. 
Norman de Leslie, eldest son of Sir Andrew de Leslie, eighth Lord of Leslie, was 
infeft by his father, before 1390, in most of his estates. Norman's eldest son, David, 
was at the holy wars, and having been supposed dead, Norman executed a deed leaving 
most of his property to Sir George Leslie of Rothes, ancestor of the Earls of Rothes. 
Norman died in 1391, in his father's lifetime ; and Sir George Leslie was served heir of 
entail. Sir Andrew died in 1398 ; and two or three years afterwards, his grandson, 
David, reappeared, and was served heir, succeeding as ninth Dominus Ejusdem, i.e., of 

Rise of New Families. 105 

Leslie. He confirmed, however, his father's deed of entail. He and the son of Sir 
George went to England in 1423 — two of the hostages for the ransom of James I. H 
returned in 1432 ; his place being taken by a substitute, Sir "William Baillie of Hopril 
David de Leslie married Margaret Davidson, daughter of Robert Davidson, Provost o 
Aberdeen, who fell at Harlaw. By her he had one daughter, after whose birth he agaii. 
confirmed his father's deed of entail. The daughter married Alexander, a son of the 
Baron of Balquhain ; and, in her right, he took the title of Leslie of that Ilk. The 
southern estates went to the Rothes branch of the house ; and the Lairds of Leslie, 
though still superiors of Balquhain, occupied a humbler place than the former denizens 
of Leslie. They were not descendants of Margaret Davidson, but of a second wife, 
who, the family history says, poisoned Margaret's only son, John. His sister Johann 
Margaret's daughter, married a brother of Strachan of Thornton. 

The lairds that then dwelt upon these lands were of such power under the feuda. 
system as causes their condition to be looked back upon as being of a grandeur unknown 
to modern society ; at the same time they were not exempt from troubles unknown to 
their descendants. Families like the Leslies, Meldrums, and Leiths, as well as those of 
noble rank, were esteemed as of sufficient importance to be accepted as hostages in Eng- 
land for persons of higher station held in captivity there. "William Leith, for example, 
gave himself up as one of a number of hostages for David II. in 1358. David de Leslie, 
the chief of his house, had a like service to endure for James I. ; and he remained 
nine years in his vicarious captivity. John de Leith had, after Harlaw, been sent 
to treat for the release of Murdac Stewart, son of the Regent Albany, who had been 
a prisoner in England since the Battle of Homildon, and for whose release the Regent was 
more desirous than for that of the King, whom he wished to be superseded in actual 
power by Murdac, as the late king had been by himself. Murdac, in 1420, sent him with 
Alexander Seton, Lord of Gordon, and others, to negotiate the return of King James 
whose release was finally arranged in 1423, at Pontefract or York. An Act of Parlia- 
ment affecting the North of Scotland, reveals that it was in a state felt to be unsafe 
in case of insurrection, or invasion. In 1426, it was enacted that every lord who had 
lands beyond the Cairn o' Mount, upon which in auld tymes there were castles, forta- 
lices, or manor places, should repair, or rebuild, them ; and either reside there himself, 
or procure another to take his place as occupant, and expend the rents of his lands in 
the country where the same were situated. 

Throughout the long interval treated of, biding their time, and exercising such 
patience as they perforce had at command, Sir Robert Erskine's descendants held, in the 
Garioch, only the estates conveyed by Thomas, Earl of Mar; while they claimed the wide 
possessions they alleged to have been theirs as the rightful heirs of Isabel of Mar, the last 
legitimate Superior of the Regality. During her lifetime, while she was the wife of Sir 
Malcolm Drummond, the Erskines had, in the most earnest manner, petitioned the 
Crown not to sanction any scheme for depriving them of their apparent heritage, and 


106 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

had formed the alliances reckoned constitutional in that period for self-protection. 
On the death of Alexander Stewart, in 1435, Sir Robert Erskine, being considered as heir 
by legal right, assumed the title of Earl of Mar, and, under that designation, was made a 
burgess of Aberdeen in 1439. His son, Thomas, claiming to be Earl of Mar, was, in 
1457, nonsuited by an Assize of Error, held at Aberdeen, which declared that the king, 
while a minor, could not be deprived of what came to him of his father's rights. The 
injury was softened by the bestowal of a peerage upon the disappointed litigant, with 
the title of Lord Erskine. It was 1565 before the title claimed was bestowed, by Queen 
Mary of Scotland upon John fifth Lord Erskine, on the occasion of her nuptials, in 
July of that year, with Henry, Lord Darnley. During the time of the eclipse of their 
heritable honours, the line of Erskine were men of mark in national affairs, and 
probably much absent from Aberdeenshire. They continued, however, to hold their 
Garioch estates untd the reign of James V., when that king's secretary, Sir Thomas 
Erskine of Brechin, a cadet of the family of Dun, descended from an early head of the 
family, exchanged his Forfarshire property for the Garioch property of their chief, and 
originated the present family of Erskine of Pittodrie. When James I. was restored 
to his kingdom, Sir Robert Erskine was a hostage for the payment of the stipulated 
ransom, called costs of the king's maintenance, a fellow hostage being Alexander 
Seton, Lord of Gordon — at which time Erskine's yearly income was 1000 merks, equal 
to that of the Earls of Moray and Crawford ; whde that of the ancestor of the Cock 
of the North, was but 400, and the Marischal (Keith) and the Constable (Hay) each 
800 merks. 


The century which in Scotland contained, amongst its annals, the great internecine 
struggle of Harlaw was a troubled one in European history. An outbreak of the plague 
in 1401, for the first time universal in Europe, was but a parallel to the moral condition 
of society. The murder of Richard II. of England was recent. Under his successor, 
Henry IV., the young Kin:; of Scotland, the first James, was in captivity in England, 
treacherously detained there, with the connivance of his uncle, Albany Governor of 
Scotland in his name, who had already sacrificed James's elder brother, David, Duke of 
Rothesay, to his designs upon the throne held at that time by his own virtuous but 
feeble brother, Robert the Third, in whose stead he was acting as Regent. France was 
torn by the factions of Orleans and Burgundy, to which the king, Charles VI., the 
entertainer of Stewart, Earl of Mar, was alternately subject. These rival houses were 
both plotted with by Henry of England, himself an usurper. He also managed the 
Governor of Scotland by application of fear, cajolery, or force ; on one occasion even pre- 
senting himself in threatening power at Edinburgh ; but his own authority was tasked to 
the utmost by a Welsh rebellion. He died on March 13, 1412, and the Scottish Regent in 
1419. The English power was, in 1415, established for a time in France by Henry V.'s 

State of Society. 107 

victory of Agincourt. The prestige acquired by that battle was first broken at Bauge, in 
1421, by the Scotch troops that were carried over by the Earl of Buchan, a son of the 
Begent Albany, under connivance of his brother, the second Duke, Governor of Scotland 
since his father's death. The Scottish King was with Henry Y., and made to issue orders 
to the Scottish troops to withdraw, but Buchan refused to obey a king in captivity. It 
was in reward of that victory that the high office of Constable of France was conferred, 
by Charles of France, upon the Scottish leader. Constable Buchan, however, in turn 
suffered a defeat, and the loss of his own life, at Verneuil, in 1424 ; and France had to 
wait her emancipation four years more, until the Maid of Orleans made her romantic 
appearance in the annals of war. Even the Court of Borne was in a state of hopeless 
dissension at that distracted period ; and a rival Pope was enthroned at Avignon. The 
first year of the century witnessed the first martyrdom in England, of an adherent of the 
religious doctrines of "Wycliffe ; which, during the next hundred and fifty years, were to 
work their way, partly by such means, to national adoption in the Beformation. 

In Scotland, about 1400, life and property must have been to the last degree 
insecure, in the state of tolerated lawlessness which allowed men such as the hero of 
Harlaw to rise to the highest level of society. Another element essential to social wel- 
fare — that of domestic purity — was as conspicuously absent as was public honour. 
Bastardy, which in our time is assumed, with scant accuracy of comparative observation, 
to be the peculiar reproach of Scotland, was at that period considered to attach no shame 
in the highest ranks of life in either kingdom. Bobert II., in addition to four sons and 
five daughters lawfully born, had eight illegitimate sons, who stood around the throne in 
equal state with the untainted nobles of the land. Alexander Stewart, the Earl of Mar, 
was one of the bastard offspring of Bobert II. 's savage son, the Wolf of Badenoch ; 
another of whom led the cateran horde down upon the braes of Angus, where they 
killed the flower of the local nobility. Alexander himself, though suspected to be virtu- 
ally the murderer of the first husband of his wife Isabel, the Countess of Mar and 
Garioch, was a favourite guest with the most honourable citizens of Aberdeen, both lay 
and clerical, before and after his notorious seizure of the Castle of Kildrummy and his 
marriage of its mistress. 

The Earl's " Master of Horse at Harlaw," Sir Andrew Leslie of Balquhain, was an 
example, wildly conspicuous in the Garioch, of the uncontrolled state of social life then 
prevalent. He is said to have been the builder of the rude fortress which occupies the 
summit of Benachie, and of the causeway which leads to it over the marshy ground on its 
only accessible side. To that lofty stronghold he carried off young women, whose beauty 
excited his unbridled passions ; and he had himself to take refuge in its fastness from 
the displeasure of his lord superior, the Earl of Mar, after some lawless proceedings of 
his family. One of his natural sons, it is said, had carried off the daughter of Thomas 
Bisset of Balhaggarty, the Fair Maid of Kenmay, who was at the time the betrothed of 
the Earl's Baillie of the Begality, Sir John Forbes of Drumminnor. Sir John, raising his 

108 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

friends, attacked the castle of Balquhain, and took and burned it ; and Sir Andrew, in 
reprisal, immediately afterwards harried the Forbes lands, with great slaughter of the 
inhabitants. From the fortress on Benachie, the family traditions also say he made an 
excursion, with his retainers and the chief of the clan Allan, into Strathdon, and carried 
off a lady, called the Fair Maid of Strathdon. This lady became the mother of one of the 
bastard lairds whom he planted in the Leslie lands. A scandalous feud with the Fortieses 
afterwards drew the attention of Regent Albany's Government upon Balquhain, and 
the Sheriff of Angus was sent in January, 1420, to put down the insubordinate baron. 
Fir Andrew gave battle to the Sheriff's force at Braco, and was slain in the conflict. 
His widow, Isabel Mortimer, erected a chaplainry for his needy soul near the spot, and 
the Sheriff's family mortified some lands in Angus, with the same benevolent purpose, 
for another mass in the Chapel of the Garioch. Sir Andrew's son and successor, Sir 
William, was the common ancestor of all the Leslie families localized in the Garioch. 

Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar and Garioch, lived until 1435; but, after Harlaw, 
his history connects him with the Garioch only by two acts of his Court of Begality. 
He must have been a man of singular ability. The wild cub of the Wolf of Badenoch 
became a skilled courtier and confidant of James I., after Murdac of Albany brought 
the King home, for his own purposes, in 1423 ; but he had to help the somewhat jealous- 
minded and revengeful monarch to make relentless reprisals upon the family of Albany, 
whose ambition had made away with the King's elder brother, and had kept himself 
so long out of the throne. The Earl was one of the jury that found Murdac, Duke of 
Albany, the son of his former patron, guilty of the capital offence of treason. In 1431, 
Stewart added to his dignities of Mar, Garioch, and Duffle, that of Admiral of Scotland, 
in which capacity a new Hebridean rebel, Donald Balloch, a kinsman of his old anta- 
gonist, Donald of the Isles, had the satisfaction of inflicting a defeat upon him, at 
Inverlochy ; where, two centuries later, the Covenanting Earl of Argyle, after appearing 
to chase the Earl of Montrose over Aberdeenshire and Lochaber, took to his galleys to 
escape the dashing royalist chief. By the death of Mar, who outlived his son, the King, 
as it has been already noticed, became possessed of both the Earldoms ; and the Pce- 
galitj r of the Garioch appears for a considerable period a royal appanage, latterly held 
by one subject after another until the time of Charles I. 

The ballad of Young Waters, adds another tragic incident to Alexander Stewart's 
life, as a courtier of King James. It is supposed to describe the execution of Walter 
Stewart, the son of Duke Murdac, one of the victims of the king's resentment ; or per- 
haps, as the known behaviour of Walter to his own father, when governor, might suggest, 
one of the turbulent nobles who had to be dealt with summarily. " Young Walter," 
the king's own relative, on his first riding to Stirling, to offer his duty to the King, is 
remarked by the frank English Queen for his pre-eminently handsome person and style. 
Her words offend the King who was small and uncomely himself, and whose long suffering 
of undeserved oppression in his juvenile days, partly caused by the youth's father, had 

Local Government. 109 

warped his mind into habits of suspicion and vindictiveness, and he takes immediate 
occasion, while the courtier kneels, to reproach him with treason, of which his family 
had undoubtedly been guilty. He orders him to be taken to the Heading Hill, and the 
Earl of Mar was commissioned to be his executioner, but refused the office : 

*' Oh God forbid," the Earl he said, 
"The like should e're fa' me, 
My body e'er should bear the brand 
That gars Young Waters dee." 

Then he has loosed his trusty brand, 

And east it in the sea, 
Says — " Never let them get a brand 

Till it come back to me. " 

The position proposed to Mar was a cruel one, and may have been intended to be so 
by the King, whose severity towards his more powerful subjects soon cost him his life. 

King James must have visited the Garioch during Alexander Stewart's Lordship. 
He enquired personally into the particulars of the condition of bis kingdom, of which 
he heard endless complaints at the time of his release, and he would naturally like to look 
at the anticipated addition to his Royal possessions ; for poverty was one of the injuries 
wbich Governor Albany had inflicted upon him, by the profuse alienation of Crown 
lands, which he had made the means of bribing the nobility into acquiescence in his 
rule, and possible succession to the crown. There is no question that the humorous poem, 
"Christ's Kirk on the Green," of which James I. was the author, must have been written 
after he had seen the nocturnal fair of the Sleepy Market, which was held in the month of 
May, at the parish church of Christ's Kirk, or Rathmuriel, situated between Insch and 
Leslie. The awkward archery, which he ridiculed in the poem, must have appeared to 
him a dangerous defect in his subjects, knowing what he did of the skill of the English 
bowmen ; in the Sovereign's estimation it would be reckoned one of the fruits of Albany's 
utter neglect of the national interests. 

The strange nocturnal fair — continued for many generations after King James's cele- 
bration of it — was at length changed, as to the time of holding it, to daylight, because 
of the excesses which had come to occur in it ; but the consequence of altering the 
hours of keeping it from the night season to the day time was the speedy abandon- 
ment of the Tryst by the country people. 


The king who had made many enemies to himself by his manner of government, 
was murdered, in the house of the Dominican Friars at Perth, during the Christmas 
festivities of 1436, leaving his son, James II., a boy of seven years old. He had not, it is 
likely, provided any local successor to the recently deceased Earl of Mar, in ruling the 
Regality. The Regency, immediately required for the kingdom, probably made pro- 
visional arrangements for the new acquisition, as we find one of the leading nobles, who 

110 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Gartocn. 

had been in charge of important business under James L, acting, in 1441, as Lord of 
the Regality, though Sir Eobert Erskine had assumed the title of Earl of Mar from the 
time of Stewart's death. Erskine on 9th August, 1442, took legal protest before the 
King and Council that he was Lord of the Garioch. 

On October 31, 1441, William, Earl of Orkney, Lord of St. Clair, and of the 
regality of Garviauch, Great Chamberlain of Scotland, gave precept to William Leslie, 
Knight, Sheriff of Garioch, to infeft Walter Barclay, as heir of Alexander Barclay, his 
father, in the lands of Bourtie. William, third Earl of Orkney of the surname of 
Sinclair, was one of the nobles who conducted James to his own kingdom in 1 423. 
In 1436, as Admiral of Scotland, he escorted the young Princess Margaret to France 
in order to be married to the Dauphin ; and he filled at different times, during the two 
succeeding reigns, all the principal offices of state. He was the builder of the 
beautiful Eoslin Chapel near Edinburgh — still in a state of good preservation. His 
eldest son was the first Lord Sinclair, and his second son the first Sinclair, Earl of 

The Lordship of the Garioch was, in 1453, in the hands of James the Second's 
Queen, with Sir William Leslie of Balquhain, her Baillie as before. In that year he had 
to infeft in the lands of Drumdurnoch, John of Winton of Andat, a relative of the famous 
Prior of St. Serf, the writer of the " Chronykil," and the second poetical historian of 
Scoiland, who seems to have been as warmly attached to the great Earl of Mar, as 
John Barbour had been to the Bruce. The Wintons retained land close by the Chapel 
of the Garioch down to the Reformation. 

While the Queen held the Regality, Thomas, Lord Erskine, claimed the Earldom 
of Mar, his father having been served heir in 1438 ; but the King got an Assize composed 
of the Marischal and other northern nobles, to set aside that finding in 1457, and His 
Majesty then gave the title and lands to his son, John ; who, in 1477, directed his 
Baillie, William Leith of Bernis (Barnes), to infeft in the lands of Johnston, Alexander 
Johnston (grandson of Gilbert Johnston of that Ilk), and his spouse, Agnes Glaster, 
daughter of the laird ofGlack. 

James III. became very jealous of his brother John, and the Lord of the Garioch 
died unexpectedly, under suspicious circumstances, at Edinburgh in 1479. The King 
then conferred the Earldom of Mar on his favourite, Robert Cochrane, who held the 
same until he was hanged at Lauder Bridge by the indignant nobles of Scotland. There- 
after the king's brother obtained the lands and dignities. He had, apparently in 1482, 
a charter to " Alexander Duke of Albany, Earl of March, Lord of Annandale and Mar, 
the King's Lieutenant^General, Great Admiral of the Realm, and Warden of East and 
West Marches," of the lands and Earldom of Mar and Garioch, with the Castle of 
Kildrummy. Such accumulation of honours was altogether undeserved. Albany had, 
according to the propensity of the Stewart house, been a traitor. He had been insti- 
gated by the great international plotter of the time, Louis XI. of France, whom Scott 

Loral Government. Ill 

so graphically depicts in Quentin Durward, and was afterwards received into favour 
at Louis' intercession ; but he speedily misbehaved again, and the King, in 1486, gavo 
the honours to his own third son, John. 

In 1490, Nov. 15, John, Earl of Mar and Garioch, upon resignation, gave new- 
investiture of the lands of Westerhouse to James, King of Bourtie, and his wife Mar- 
garet Berclay, within the Earl's house in the burgh of Aberdeen (formerly of John 
Wormet ) ; Walter Berclay of Towie took instruments. One of the witnesses was James 
Crichton of Frendraught, Knight. 

In the beginning of the following century, the next king, James IV., began to dis- 
tribute the possessions of both the Earldom of Mar and the Lordship of the Garioch. 
Some of them went, in 1507, along with part of the Mar lands, to the ancestor of the 
Lords Elphinstone, the husband of Elizabeth Berlay, the Queen's servant, and, it is said, 
too much of a favourite with the amorous monarch. The Mar Vault, in the churchyard 
of Kildrummy, is a relic of the Elphinstone period of possession. Andrew Elphinstone 
of Selmys was infefting sheriff in the Elphinstone gift bestowed by the Sovereign. 

Next year the King feued to John Leslie of Wardens, the lands of the Thanage of 
Kintore, viz., the Over and Nether Davach of Kin tore, with the Mills, the lands of 
Crichie, Tavilty, Meikil Kynaldy, and the Mill, Little Kynaldy, Pitmedden, Nether 
Dyce, and the yearly fishings on the Don, and the lakes and bogs of the same. In the 
same year, he made Leslie Baillie of all the king's lands in the Garioch, in payment of 
certain sums due to Alexander Leslie, his father, when he was King's Comptroller in 
the previous reign. Two years later, 1510, the King gave him the actual property of 
all the regality lands remaining to the Crown, in excambion for the lands of Balcomy 
in Fife. 

John Leslie, who thus became, in Inverurie and the neighbourhood, the feudal 
representative of the great Lords of the Garioch, was the son of Alexander Leslie, 
" familiare servant," or page, of James III. ; who had, it is likely, got that appointment 
when his own father, Sir William Leslie of Balquhain, was baillie of the Garioch to the 
future king's mother, the Queen of James II. 

The lands of the regality disponed to Wardes, were " Duncanstoun, Gillander- 
stoun, with the Mill, Donydure, with the Mill, Rochmuriell, the Davache of Ardune 
with the Mill, Warthill, Durnoch, and the Mylnetown, the Mill of Durnoch, Harlaw, 
Tullifoure, Torreis, Knockinbarde, with the Mill, and Knockinmorgan, also Inverurie 
with the Davach and Mill ". 

Three years after the deed now referred to, which first specifies the Regality lands 
lying in Inverurie, the King perished in September, 1513,* on the field of Flodden, 
where died with him so many members of every noble and baronial family in Scot- 
land, that several genealogies, in recording that period, continue the representation of 
the families by a posthumous son. In the unfortunate host was William Johnston, the 
laird of Caskieben, and with him the stalwart youths, as we may well believe, of not a 

112 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

few vassal homes in Monkegy, Inverurie, Rayne, Dyce, and Leslie, where the John- 
ston possessions then lay. Many a heart-sore moan over them was to be made before 
the altar of St. Serve, in the kirk of Monkegy, whde the priest of Inverurie, vicar of 
both kirks, was singing masses for their souls' repose. Other victims of the King's rash- 
ness at Hodden were Sir James Abercromby of Pitmedden and Birkenbog, George 
Ogilvy, a grandson of Sir Walter of Auchleven, and two sons of the Marischal. 


In 1424, Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, introduced among the lairds of the Re- 
gality, a man, whose descendants were destined to occupy as dominant a position in the 
North as lie himself had done. In that year he gave a charter of Christian Bruce's 
former possessions of Meiklewardes, near Dunnideer, to Alexander Seton de Gordon, 
the ancestor of the Dukes of Gordon, for service to be rendered to the King, used and 
wont, and tres sectas to the Earl, at his three head courts of regality at Inuyrowy. 

Alexander Seton, who became Gordon, by marrying, in 1408, Elizabeth the heiress 
of Adam de Gordon deceased, was himself the second son of Sir William Seton of 
Seton, and his own second son, William Seton, was the common ancestor of the Garioch 
Setons already mentioned. Alexander fought at Harlaw, under the Earl of Mar, and 
at Bauge, under the Constable Buchan ; and he likewise was one of the commissioners 
treating for the release of James I., and also one of the hostages, after 1424, for the 
requisite payment. 

Alexander Gordon, his eldest son, who was made Earl of Huntly by James II., 
about 1449-50, had been employed in state service by the late king, and in the condi- 
tion of rebellion which prevailed in the early part of the reign of James II. — the 
result of his father's firmness of government, and severe usage of those who had 
encroached upon the crown and its possessions — the Lord of Gordon was among the 
most active opponents of the rebels. In 1452, in the battle of Brechin, Huntly sup- 
pressed a formidable insurrection, headed by Lindsay, Earl of Crawford, on which 
occasion his brother, William Seton of Meldrum, was slain. The good service was 
rewarded with the hereditary office of Sheriff of Aberdeenshire, to which, in 1529, the 
Sheriffdom of Inverness was added; and the Earls of Huntly held both until the reign 
of Charles I., when that monarch, jealous of the power of the Cock of the North, 
deprived the then Marquis of both dignities. 

The representatives of the female line of Gordon, who thus became the local con- 
trollers in the Garioch of .the wild manners of the fifteenth century, came to be distin- 
guished in their domain by the name of Seton Gordons ; the descendants in the male 
line, of an earlier generation, being called the Jock and Tarn Gordons, of which Gordon 
of Pitlurg is the reputed representative. The Huntly Gordons, in later times, earned 
for themselves the title of Bow o' Meal Gordons, because of their giving, as is said, 

the Burgh. 113 

that acknowledgement for the naming of a male child after the family, as a future 

The raising of a family, new in the district, to the supreme magistracy of it, may 
have been partly owing to the necessity of providing a sufficient counterpoise to the 
power of Lord Erskine whose claims upon the Mar Earldom and Eegality of the Garioch 
could not readily be ignored. The alliances formed by Sir Eobert Erskine, before he 
inherited his rights, for the purpose of defending them, proved to be the origin of a 
local power, which, through all the succeeding period, operated as a check upon the 
Gordon influence. The house of Forbes, chief vassals of Mar, and ennobled about 
1442, became the centre of a combination opposed to any ambitious action on the part 
of the Earls of Huntly. With Lord Forbes the Johnstons acted ; and during two 
centuries, formed matrimonial alliances — not only with the principal house, but with 
not a few of the Cadet families of the Forbes surname ; while the Leslies adhered to 
the Gordons. Other families ranged themselves, as occasion arose, on the different 
sides, as their natural place. When the Reformation came, the habit of association in 
the two factions, may have had something to do in bringing about that change in the 
North of Scotland ; the Protestant and Roman Catholic parties in the Garioch were, 
substantialy, the old Forbes and Gordon factions respectively. 


One of the greatest national sufferings, to the cure of which James I. had to ad- 
dress himself, was the destructive oppression of the common people by the lawless 
barons, whom Regent Albany's necessities and inactivity had allowed to become so intol- 
erable as neighbours, that frequent insurrection was provoked. The stern administra- 
tion of James I., which gave a forced peace to society, allowed the growth of a middle-class, 
possessed of some means, and disposed likewise to take the part of a state government, 
which made their interests safe. The Burghs of Scotland, became, in this way, valuable 
supports to the Royal authority. 

The Burgh of Inverthurin appearing in a deed respecting one of its ' tofts,' in 
1195, is an instance, among many, that Royal Burghs dated from the earliest period of 
Scottish monarch}' — in imitation, it is likely, of France. Considerably before King 
William's time, a Hanse of Four Burghs had existed in the south, which had the power 
of making common laws for their internal government — the Burghs being Berwick, 
Roxburgh, Edinburgh, and Stirling. At any time when Berwick, or Roxburgh, fell 
into the hands of the English, another burgh was introduced'temporarily. The Laws 
of the Four Burghs were the work of that Southern Hanse. King William created a 
Northern Hanse, to which Inverurie may have belonged — as it included Aberdeen, and 
all his burgesses of Moray, and all his burgesses benorth the Munth, and those were 
empowered to hold their meetings when and where they pleased. The two self- 


114 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

governing combinations may be regarded as the first effort of that exercise of the influence 
of the Commons in the realm, which, afterwards, took the form of the representation of 
every Burgh by a Commissioner or Burgess in Parliament. 

Burgh life in Inverurie begins to show itself, to the antiquarian student, a little 
before the great battle of Harlaw. We have only probability as grounds for setting 
down the names of the citizens of Urbs Inrure, whom the approach of the Highland 
host must have " fluttered "; but we can realize something of the condition of the Burgh 
at the beginning of that century. 

The Lady Isabel, last of that seemingly favourite name among the illustrious descen- 
dants of David of Huntingdon, was Superior of the Regality, holding her courts at 
Inrure. The progenitor of the Johnstons — Stephen, the clerkly founder of the house 
— was then at grassy Caskieben, across the Ury, the nearest neighbour of the burghers ; 
and down the water at Kiukell, the polished Henry Lichton was sometimes resident in 
his parsonage. His nieces — the Laird of Usan's daughters — named Elene Lichton, and 
her sister, Janet, one of the youthful Johnstons and young Andrew Glaster of Clack 
were going a courting, and, mayhap, buying "fairing" for at Michael Fail', within cry of 
the dwelling of the reverend uncle of the two young ladies. The Bishop of the time — 
Gilbert Greenlaw — was Chancellor of the Kingdom, and doubtless made a stately spec- 
tacle at times, riding to Fetternear, past the end of the burgh, and over the Corseman 
Hill. The figure of John Barbour, the genial Archdeacon, the patriotic describer of the 
Battle of Inrure, would be well remembered in the burgh, in his occasional passings to 
and fro between the Cathedral and his parochial charge at Rayne. He died only in 1396. 

We know where the headquarters of the burgh was, the municipal " capitol ". 
The " Lord Superior of the Begality " retained, in his own immediate possession, two 
portions of the Upper Boods — one of which is now the south part of the Minister's 
Glebe, the other the Roods on which the Kintore Arms Hotel is partly built, and on 
which the Cuning Hill stands. Between these two " lands of the Lord Superior of the 
Regality," there lie two Roods, which were described in that generation as " in the 
middle of the burgh ; and, at a later period, particularized as being at " the Cross ". It 
was upon these Roods that the Town-Hall, built in 1660, was erected. The Standard, 
or Guage Rig — by which, probably, the Deans of Guild had to verify the measurements 
claimed by holders of Roods — lay close by, immediately south of the Lord Superior's 
lands. When we come upon records of royal proclamations, long after, we find that 
they were made at the Cross, and at the Cuning Hill. 

The tradition of that mound being the sepulchre of the ancient King Aodh, may 
have led to the founder of the burgh retaining, as his own " terras," the Roods containing 
it, and also to these lands becoming the " sacred place " of the municipality. The owner 
of these Roods, bounded on both sides by the lands of the Superior, was, about the time 
of Harlaw, John Badyno, who also had Roods, in two other portions, in the much- 
divided lands of the Burgh. It would be interesting to believe this representative of 

The Burgh. 115 

the traditional farmer, Bainzie, to have inherited the first-named Roods, as the actual gift 
of the Royal Bruce, made to his ancestor, out of the superiority lands, for his stout 
aid at the battle of Inverurie. One of Bainzie, or Badyno's other possessions was the 
three northmost Upper Roods ; which were bounded by the Gallowslacks, and by the high 
road leading out of the Burgh at that time, when, it may be, the Powtate Loch occu- 
pied all the wide north end of Market Place and West High Street, overflowing th; 
Crosslit Croft. 

The town, which, three hundred years after, was described as a single street with a 
very moderate number of houses, was probably in 1400 all within sight and cry of the 
Cross ; and the Cross "Well may have served the whole community. Who at that time 
turned its waters into " ail or beer," as was very largely done two centuries after, we 
know not, nor much about those who drank them pure or transmuted ; not long after 
Harlaw was fought, we find names on record which enable us to reconstruct at least the 
skeleton of a Town Council. The earliest denizens, however, whom we know by name 
appear in 1402, and belong to the less honoured of the two classes specified by the 
Aberdeen minister in his prayer, that the magistrates of that city might be a terror to 
"evil-doers, and to those that sit in council with them". 

Those first personages of history in Inverurie were Michael Sutor, John Atkynson, 
and John Andrew. Along with John Inglis in Balbithan, Robert Watson in Fourdha- 
lassis (Fuirdalehouse in Bourtie), and Meg Cambrouno in Monymusk, they appear on the 
criminal roll of the Justiciar's Court, held at Aberdeen, under the authority of Regent 
Albany, for trial of offences. They were described as tannatores, i.e., tanners. They 
were, probably, shoemakers who made their own leather ; and their crime may have 
been one or other of the following offences, punishable under the common laws of Scot- 
tish burghs at that time, when the interests of purchasers were protected by a multitude 
of statutes allowing no germ of free trade to have place. The Justiciar had in his ayre, 
or circuit, to enquire respecting " soutars " — if they were guilty of tanning improper 
hides, which were defined as hides not having the ear and the horn of the same length ; 
if they made shoes or boots, or other graith, of the leather before it was barkit ; if they 
sewed with false and rotten thread, " through the which the shoes are tynt or thai be 
halff worne " ; if they gave their leather good oil and tallow, or only water and salt ; if 
they worked it before it was " courait " (curried or cured), " to the great hindering and 
skaith of the King's lieges ". 

The principal crime tried at the circuit (1402) was that of " forestalling". The 
word meant, as it does now, anticipating the open market. To do that was forbidden 
by law ; and hucksters were enquired about by the Justiciar, whether they sold privately 
" in their own floor," so as to escape paying the King's custom ; a tax originally col- 
lected in each burgh by the King's baillie, but which began under Robert I. to be 
collected by the burgh, which paid a commuted revenue to the Crown for the same. 

Strict laws were in force againt the sale of unsound meat. Bad salmon was to 

116 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

be seized by the Baillies, and given to the " lipper folk " (lepers), if there were any — - 
otherwise to be destroyed. 

Other laws indicate the wild state of manners prevailing during the most unsettled 
part of the 14th century. In burghs a gudd brother " sticking another with his niff," 
was fined half-a-merk, and had to make amends " at the wdl of the Alderman, the Den, 
and the laiff of the brethren". No burgess was at liberty to wear a "knyff" with a 
point, under a fine of twelve pennies. Four pennies was the penalty thought necessary to 
repress the unseemly practice of " stalling at the gate of the gilde, or upon the wall "• 
But the laws against theft were of a severity which proves property to have been to the 
last degree unsafe. A thief caught with a half-penny loaf was to be whipped through 
the town ; for a theft of value between a halfpenny and fourpence to be whipped more 
severely ; for stealing a pair of shoes, value fourpence, to be put on the cukstool, and 
after that led to the head of the town, and there made to forswear the town ; for four- 
pence to eightpence farthing to be pilloried in the same way, and led to the head of the 
town, and there he that took the thief was to cut off his ear ; for eightpence farthing 
the same exposure and the other ear. " If after that he be ta'en with eightpence 
farthing he that takes him sail hyng him." " Item, for 32 pennies 1 ob. he that tak's 
him may hyng him." 

No doubt the frequent scarcity of food which approached starvation, made theft very 
common. The abnost constant state of warfare kept the counties on both sides of the 
border waste for a great distance ; so much so that often one great inducement to a peace 
was that licence would thereby be got from the English King, to import grain and other 
food. Even Scottish castles, held by English garrisons, had at times to be provisioned 
from Ireland. It was also a consequence of Albany's corrupt administration of law, 
against which he and his immediate party were the chief transgressors, that the powerful 
knights compelled to use their strength against rival neighbours for self-preservation, used 
it as readily for self indulgence, or in carelessness, against the humbler classes, and the 
whole crops of a season were frequently destroyed in that way. 

It is amusing to notice amidst these serious illustrations of the times, traits of 
the uniformity of human nature in certain handicrafts. The complaints to be 
enquired into at the justice ayre included offences by weavers, — of making too long 
thrums, and of weighing the dry yarn when they took it from the customer, and wetting 
it, or mixing heavy substances with it, when they weighed the work back again. Tailors 
were suspected of a propensity to make too large refuse clippings, and " to take 
pieces, sleeves, and other small things," and to make clothes otherwise than as the 
customer had ordered. Dealers, of all kinds, had to be looked after for using false 
measures and weights, and the public weighers, lest they should show favour. A graphic 
ordinance sets before us the temptation that lay in the way of the public tasters, who 
had to examine and set a price upon the ale brewed for sale at the numerous taverns, — 
one of which, in Aberdeen, the famous Eobert Davidson, the Provost, kept. The tasters 

The Burgh. . 117 

must not go into the house, and " fars their wames (swell their bellit's) in drinking, when 
they sulde stand in the middle of the street before the door, and send one of their falows 
in with the bedal, that sail chose of what pot he will taste, the whilk he sail present to 
his falows, and they sail descern what price to put upon it." After days exhibit the 
tasters in active office in Inverurie. 

In these ancient burgh laws, mostly enacted for the Southern Hanse of the Four 
Burghs, but doubtless used in the subsequently erected Northern Hanse, we find an 
interesting germ of social freedom. One of the ways in which a serf or bondsman could 
attain freedom was by his living within one of the burghs for a year and a day, with- 
out being claimed by his master, or on his behalf. It was the beginning of the principle 
of British law — so illustrious a contrast in after centuries to all other national law — that 
a slave stepping on to the soil of Britain became free. 

"Within the municipality, however, " liberty, equality, and fraternity " were far from 
being thought of. A sort of Venetian aristocracy was kept up by the merchant burgesses 
into which no handicraftsman might aspire to enter. Traders were a class who held 
themselves as much above workmen, as the feudal lord of much later times would have 
conserved his rank from contact with men of the plough. Robert Davidson, the Baillie 
and Alderman of Aberdeen, though he sold wine in his booth, was a very different person 
from the baxters and fabers of his time ; and Alexander Stewart, the rising scion of 
nobility, would think him desirable company in his humbler days, and not unmeet 
company when he was the potent Earl of Mar and Garioch, and Lord of Duffle in Bra- 
bant. In England, so early as the reign of Edward III., some of the larger cities and 
municipalities set obstacles in the way of ambitious weavers and fullers seeking entrance 
to the Merchant Guild ; and Alexander II. gave the Aberdeen burgesses the privilege of 
a Merchant Guild, which should exclude these two classes. The exclusion of tradesmen 
from the Municipal Council naturally led to the formation of associations among the 
various excluded bodies, so as, in the end, to secure some voice in the election of Burgh 
magistrates. The earliest law known for municipal elections of baillies made the election 
be " by certain good men of the best and most discreet and trustworthy," — terms which 
did not seem to exclude any technical class of burgesses, and consequently resulted in 
the election being attended often with much popular excitement. It was to remedy 
the state of dispeace thus occasioned in a jealous community, that the famous Act of 
Parliament was passed which regulated all municipal elections preceding the passing, in 
1833, of the Burgh Reform Act. The old enactment had declared that the " chusing of 
the new officiaris be in this wyse, that is to say, that the auld Consail of the town sail 
choise the new Consail in sic nowmer as accords to the town, as alderman, bailys, Dene 
of Gild, and utheris officiaris, and that ilka craft sail choise a person of the samyn craft 
that sail have voice in the said election of the officiaris ". 

If John Badyno of H64 was the lineal descendant of Farmer Benzie, and lived on 
lands bestowed on Farmer Bainzie in 1308, the case brings to mind a law of King 

118 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

William the Lion, respecting burghs — that a burgage holder, if impoverished and needing 
to sell his land, must offer it first to the nearest heir. The rule was doubtless derived 
from Hebrew law, and would bear with it something of a religious sentiment. If the 
nearest heir was out of the country in the nearest foreign kingdom, the seller must wait 
40 days after giving notice of his intention. If he were in the next distant kingdom, 40 
days more must be allowed, and so on. A necessary qualification for being a burgess was 
the possession of a " toft of land in the burgh ". " A rebelliour again the communitie," 
or one convicted of fraud, had, for punishment, that his house be " strycken to the 
erde," and himself be put out of the town. A burgess, fallen into destitution, was to be 
helped by the Gild ; and such a brother dying, to be " erded " decently by the Gild. 
A daughter left in such a case, if of good fame and approved conversation, had to be 
dowered for a husband by the Gild ; or if she elected to go into a religious house, then to 
be provided for there as she required. The next-of-kin purchasing a poor burgess's 
holding had to provide him in food and clothing equal to his own, the clothing to be 
of one colour, grey or white. 

At an early period means had to be taken to protect the general interests of the 
community from the combinations formed in burghs for selfish ends. The history of 
strikes in Scotland is at least as old as 1493, when an act was passed "For the putting 
down of Deakons of Craftis who made statutes for the singular profite and availe of their 
craftis, contrair the common profite ; and also for the prevention of Maisons and other 
men of Crafte exacting wages for the Halie day as for the wark day, or else refusing to 
work ". 

The importance of the Burghs of Inverurie and Kintore to a Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, in the 15th century, must have been small ; for they do not appear among 
the burghs beyond the Forth taxed by the Crown in 1483. Both were, for a long period 
after that, taxed in the shire. Kintore had, however, some years before, asserted its 
position against the assumption of the more important city of Aberdeen, by vindicating 
its right to try a burgess of its own, whom the authorities of that city had thought they 
might exercise justice upon. 

Of the appearance of the single street of Urbs Inrure in those days we know but 
little; but the Upper and Lower Boods were possessed in much the same size of hold- 
ings as centuries after, and described by tbe same boundaries- — the Ourye on the east, 
the Davauche lands on the west (called also the Keylands, now vernacularly Kellands), 
with the Via Begia, or King's Gait, between, while the Common Lands of the burgh 
bounded the northmost Upper Boods as at present. 

Master Walter Ydill was the Vicar of Inverurie in 1428, and is the first, after Doni- 
inus Bicardus of 1262, and Dominus Thomas of 1297, whose name has been preserved. 

Six dispositions of different parcels of Boods, between 1464 and 1486, exhibit a 
number of burgage holders of the same names as were common in the proprietary of the 
burgh after 1600. 

The Burgh. 119 

The Bainzie family, traditionally holders from Eobert the Bruce, and disappearing 
from the burgh roll only in the eighteenth century, was represented, in 1464, by John, 
Walter, and Agnes Badenoch, all Bood proprietors. John — already mentioned as a pro- 
prietor at three points of the town, including the two Upper Boods where the Tol- 
booth of 1660 stood, and which were described, in 1464, as in the middle of the burgh, 
bounded on both sides by the lands of the Lord Superior of the Begality — himself lived 
on the northermost Upper Boods, where now the West High Street Public School is 

His neighbour southward was Walter Young, laird of the large amount of eleven 
Boods above and below the high road ; who seems to have affected a seal of his own, 
which he appended along with that of the burgh, to a disposition granted by him in 

Next to Walter Young southward, the property now containing Buby Cottage, was 
in the ownership of John, the son of Andrew, one of two families named Anderson, 
both at that time burgage lairds, and, it may be, the ancestors of Andersons who con- 
tinued in that position until near the nineteenth century. 

The scattered distribution of the minister's glebe, which, in 1853, consisted of one 
portion in the Upper Boods, and four different parts in the Lower, existed in the 
fifteenth century ; and if we can infer anything in the matter from the upper portion 
being called terra vicarii, while the rest is called terrce ecclesiasticce, the vicarage may 
ere then have been transported from Cold wells to where the Manse stood after 1600 — 
the site of the present parish church, in a three cornered nook on the north bank of the 
Skettrie Burn. The vicar's north neighbour was John Boss, in 1476; north of whom 
was the senior John Anderson. 

On the Lower Boods, the south neighbour of one of the terrae ecclesiasticce was 
■ Alexander de Menus, son and heir of quondam William de Mernis, a name also continu- 
ing in the eighteenth century in the burgh lairdship. In 1476, he held the two roods 
on which the Episcopal Chapel is built, and next him, on the south, was Bobert the son 
of Hugh, possibly the same Dom. Bobert Howieson, who appears a witness on John 
Boss's charter, in 1476, and who may then have been the vicar's curate. 

-Other names of burgage-holders preserved in the six dispositions quoted, which 
appear also long after, were Currie, Lesly, Bobertson, Hucheson or Hutcheon, Tailyeour, 
and Blakhall. Groups of neighbours on the Upper Boods were Walter Badenoch, 
Patrick Anderson, burgess of Aberdeen, and Andrew Anderson ; Bobert Mearns, John 
Boss, John Anderson, and John Blakhall ; and on the Lower Boods, William Leslie, 
Batrick Leslie, and William Forsyth ; John Hucheson, Bobert Anderson, and Agnes 
Badenoch ; Walter Curry, John Blakhall, and John Anderson, junior. The names 
Brakanth or Brakath, Clark, Johnston, Panton, and Henderson also appear in the deeds. 
Alexander de Mernis was, besides his Lower Boods, part proprietor of Blakhall, probably 
by temporal y mortgage or by marriage provision. 

120 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

The purchaser of most of the annual rents, secured by these dispositions, was Richard 
Forbes, Dean of Aberdeen (1466), son of quondam Alexander de Forbes de eodem, 
Knight. Another son of the chief of the Forbeses, William, Vicar of Edinburgh, 
witnesses a sasine on one of the items along with William Scrogy, chaplain curate of 
Inveroury, and Duncan Red, chaplain. 

The name Walter Ydill appears about that date, as that of a dignitary in the 
Church. If it was the Vicar of Inverurie, Scrogy would be the chaplain curate, and, as 
he also is called presbyter, was, it is likely, the Vicar's substitute in his Garioch parish. 

In these Latin dispositions, the names are almost all given as if the usage, still 
remaining in some parts of England, then prevailed — of naming a man by his paternity, 
e.g., John Alius Andre. That, may have been only the Latin rendering deemed to be 
correct of John Anderson ; but an interesting illustration of the origin of new names 
occurs in one of them. John Badenoch's neighbour, Walter Young, was the son of John, 
the son of Walter ; which must mean young Walter, the grandson of old Walter. He 
had the name of Walter Young, while his father would, in all likelihood, be called 
John Watson. 

Henry, son of Andrew, &c, Henry Anderson, in 1466, appears in Walter Young's 
charter as a " baillie of said burgh," infefting the purchaser, Richard Forbes, Dean of 
Aberdeen. He is the first baillie whose name is preserved. In the instrument of sasine 
following on the Charter, we have the earliest known town and parish clerk. The 
pluralist was Thomas, son of Andrew, a relative, possibly, of the baillie. William 
Panton of Futhes (Fiddes) was a witness. In the same year, we come upon a beginning 
of another line of burgh Officials — the town-sergeants. That officer, in 1466, was 
Andrew, son of Robert. He was witness to a charter by Alexander Mernis. 

Somewhere between 1451 and 1486, Patrick Leslie, burgess of Aberdeen, noticed 
as a proprietor in Inverurie, endowed the Altar of the Three Kings in Aberdeen, with a 
rent partly from his own lands, and partly from Roods belonging to William de Blak- 
hall, possibly the father of John de Blakhall who was de eodem in 1467. 

A deed of 147G names William Chalmer, armiger, possibly a part proprietor of 
Thainston, which was held, sometime before, in portions by Chalmers of Balnacraig, 
Wardrop of Gothnys, James Herman, and Alexander Ardbekye of that ilk. In that 
deed, Walter Currie, baillie, and William Ra, sergeant pro temp., are named. There 
are also two who may have been the priest and parish clerk of the time. They are 
styled as such officials would be, Dom. Robert Howieson and Magister Thomas Brown. 

If family tradition — confidently held — be of value, a race bearing the name of 
Fergus, had been, at that time, for a century owners of Lower Roods, along the edge of 
Powtate, and another race named Stephen, a little to the south of them, on the same 

Of the immediate neighbourhood of the Burgh we know some particulars at 
different periods of the century. Murdoch Glaster was laird of Glack in 1418, as 

The Burgh. 121 

heir of his mother Alice Pilmor, the last of her name. From his father he inherited 
Lumgair, and part of Dunnottar, in the Mearns. He must have been man grown at the 
date of Harlaw, as his eldest son, Andrew, was married in 1428. 

Andrew Glaster's marriage with the Bishop's niece, Janet Lichton, opens to our 
observation a little of the family condition of the household of Caskieben. It was then 
apparently in the second generation of the Johnston name. The marriage contract was 
signed, on the part of the bride, by Gilbert Johnston of Balnedache, who was, before 
that time, married to her sister Elene. The deed notes that he "procurit the seal of John 
of Johnston, his fader, to be put forthi that he has na seele of his own ". We may 
thence infer that the wearer of the seal — John de Johnston — was then the Head of 
the family, and tbat the Clerk of 1375 was no more. 

The pedigree of the family contained in the Baronage of Scotland — (Title 
Johnston of Caskieben, now of that Ilk) records that John Johnston of Caskieben, the 
husband of Marjory Lichton, daughter of the Laird of Usan in Angus, by whom he had 
a son Gilbert his heir, lived to a great age and died in the reign of King James I. ; and 
that Gilbert de Johnston, afterwards of Caskieben, was in his father's lifetime designed 
by the title of Ballindallach, (Balnedache, now called Bendauch, in Dyce parish). 
Bishop Henry (Lichton) of Aberdeen, granted, in 1430 to Gilbert de Johnston, a lease 
for all the days of his life, of the town of Bishop Clinterty, which is in the. close vicinity 
of Bendauch. This lease or tack of one of the farms then belonging in property to the 
See of Aberdeen, bears date about a couple of years after the period of the marriage of 
Andrew Glaster of Glack with the Bishop of Aberdeen's niece — Janet Lichton — the 
sister-in-law of Gilbert de Johnston. Elene Lichton, wife of Gilbert Johnston, and 
Janet Lichton, the spouse of Andrew Glaster, may very likely have been nieces of 
Marjory Lichton the wife of John de Johnston of Caskieben — which Marjory may her- 
self have been sister of Bishop Henry Lichton, and thus the old Lady of Caskieben 
had been mother-in-law, as well as aunt, of Elene. In the pedigree of the Johnstons 
no mention is made of the marriage of Gilbert de Johnston with Elene Lichton. 
Gilbert is therein stated to have been twice married ; first to Elizabeth Vass, or Vaus, 
daughter of the Laird of Menie, by whom he is said to have had one son Alexander, his 
heir, and three daughters ; and secondly, to a daughter of Sir Alexander Forbes, second 
Baron of Pitsligo, which last bore to Gilbert de Johnston, a son, William, who is 
represented as having got from his father the lands of Bendauch, the superiority whereof 
was retained in the family. The said William Johnston of Bendauch was progenitor of 
a branch of the Caskieben race which has been long extinct. In a more recent 
generation of that family the young bachelor Johnstons appear to have looked kindly 
upon their female cousins. The son (or grandson it would seem) of Gilbert de Johnston, 
viz. : Alexander Johnston of Caskieben, mentioned in the Baronage of Scotland as 
having died in the reign of. King James III., married and had issue by Agnes Glaster, 
daughter of the Laird of Glack. The bride had been endowed with the moderate tocher 


122 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

of four merks yearly, which the spouses agreed, in 1481, to resign for a payment of 
forty pounds Scots — the redemption money to be paid at the altar of St. Serve, in the 
kirk of Monkegy. The market of St. Serve (now known as St. Sair's fair) was, at 
this period, held on St. Serve's Hill, immediately south of the kirk of Monkegy. Its 
subsequent removal to the parish of Culsalmond — where it has long stood — took place, 
it is said, in consequence of a clause contained in a Marriage Contract. A genealogy of 
the Caskieben Johnstons will be found in another part of this volume. The family 
during the century after 1450 were forming that intimate connection with the name of 
Forbes which resulted in an alliance between the Forbeses and Johnstons upon all 
public questions, when the Reformation took place a.d. 15(J0. 

The Johnstons appear following the Stuart kings in their frequent rash attacks on 
England ; and, with their retainers, suffered deeply for their loyalty — one head of their 
race having fallen at Flodden, in 1513 ; and his grandson — the Young Laird of the 
family — at Pinkie, in 1547. 

William de Blakhall in 1398, Eobert de Blakhall in 1418, John Blakhall of that 
Ilk in 1447, William Blakhall from 1451 to 1486, and Robert Blakhall of that Ilk in 
1491, residing on the lands called after their own names, were the near neighbours of 
the burgh, and principal persons, it is likely, in the parish of Inverurie within the range 
of these dates. 

Among the neighbours of the burgh in 1476, besides the Biakhalls, we find James 
Kyng of Barraucht, and Alexander Seton of Meldrum. The big lairds were not then 
examples of quiet and orderliness. ' In 1492, Alexander Johnston of Caskieben was, 
among a number of persons, ordered by the Lords of the Council to pay a heavy 
fine to William Hay of Ardendraught, for burning the House of Ardendraught, in the 
parish of Cruden. Among the offenders, who seemed to have belonged to a faction of 
Forbeses and Johnstons then at feud with the Leslies and Gordons, we rind some neigh- 
bours of Inverurie — Thomas Leslie, parish clerk of Logydurnocht, John Donaldson at 
the Mylne of Inveramsey, Thomas Chawmir of Boundis (Boynds), and the Inverurie 
name of Watson, alias Curry. 

A decreet obtained in 1473, by the parson of Kinkell, William Auchinleck, for 
his stipend, preserves an interesting list of names among his parishioners, as follows : — 
Andro Alanesone, Jhone Symsone, Andro Matheousone, Thome Duncan, Jhone of Kyner, 
Johne Baxtare, and Gawane of Myll, xxx. merkis ; Andro Scherare, William Philp- 
sone, Nichole Hervy, and William Garioch, ix. merkis and a half ; Isabell Scherare, vi. 
merkis ; Thomas Sampesone, Jhone Eobert, Jhone Thomsone, vi. merkis ; William 
Garioche, David Garioche, iv. merkis and a half ; William Fowlare and Andro Beldi- 
stoune, viii. merkis; David Colisone and Eanald Diss, vi. merkis; Adam Andersone, 
vi. merkis ; William Chaumer, vi. pundis ; James Hireman, viii. merkis ; David Ogilby, 
vii. merkis ; and the said Eanald Diss, vi. merkis. 

In 1498, we obtain a glimpse of the chief personages forming the municipal body 


Sentiment. 123 

of the neighbouring burgh of Kintore. John Smerfc, William Chaumer, William 
Thomson appear as baillies ; and, next year, Andrew Keitht. The number of burgh 
lairds at the time included William Oudny of that Ilk, son of Cristina Kintor, Henry 
Chamer, son of Margaret Kintor, John Ketht, Stephen Dunansone, William Adamsone, 
Pavid Chamer, Andrew Scherar, Robert Clerk, John Forbes, William Kelly, Thomas 
Anfrays, John Denys, Robert Cordoner, Andrew Molisone, William Kelly, Thomas 
Williamson, Henry Forbess, William Myll, Fergus Philpsone. 

The high value of money in the period of the Inverurie mortifications is indicated 
by the fact that while 6s. 8d., and 13s. 4d. were the highest annual rents secured, four 
acres of land were disponed in pledge for the larger sum. A curious list of prices is 
preserved in an inventory, dated 1479, of goods seized at Esslemont, the property of 
Henry Cheyne the laird. " Thre ston of woll, 24 sh. ; four ston of lint, 2 merkis ; thre 
pare of schetes 25 sh. lOd ; thre double blankets, 16 sh. ; twa new sekkis, 4 sh. ; a 
mantel, 5 sh. ; a hewin ax, 10 pun; 12 oxen, price of the peice, 24 sh." Land was 
sold in the Garioch, by " common use," about this time at twenty years' purchase, as 
appears by Johnston papers now in Lord Saltoun's possession. 


We have but scanty means of knowing what habit of thought influenced these 
Burghers, and Barons, and tillers of the soil. 

It would almost seem as if the widespread wail over the dead who fell at Harlaw 
affected the sentiment of the whole generation that lived after the battle. The records 
of the time speak more of mortuary settlements, and masses for the dead, than of almost 
all other business. Isabel Mortimer, the lady of Balquhain, sought, in 1420, to perpet- 
uate, in this manner, the memory of her grief for her six sons slain on the fatal field, 
and for her husband, Sir Andrew, less honourably brought to his end. The conqueror 
of Harlaw, when death claimed him in his turn, had a like pious honour decreed for 
him in 1457, by the famous Canon Clat of Aberdeen, at his new altar of St. Kath- 
arine in the Cathedral of Aberdeen. There are records of some six annual rents, pur- 
chased from the Roods of Inverurie, between the years 1464 and 1486, with the same 
devout regard to the memory of other individuals. It is in the conveyances of these 
mortifications that we come first upon the names of important residents in the burgh. 

The combination of sentiment and manners, in that century, is curiously instruc- 
tive. Lawless violence and piety, of the kind exemplified by the annual rents 
purchased in Inverurie, were not thought incompatible. In 1440, a miracle play of the 
Halyblude was performed at the Woolmanhill in Aberdeen, to which the religious 
audience was probably summoned by the great bell Laurence, in the steeple of St. 
Nicholas Kirk overhanging them, a memorial of Provost Leith's atonement for slaying 
Baillie Cattanach — a colleague, it is likely, of the Laird of Barnes in the Magistracy of 

124 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Gariocli. 

Aberdeen. To some later date, but before the end of the century, must he assigned the 

record which used to be quoted by a deceased Garioch laird from his family papers — 

" This day oov Jock sticket Glaster o' Clack's aul'est son, 
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.'' 

In a subsequent generation, anno 1533, Elphinstone of Glack made an offer of com- 
pensation, quite characteristic of the state of criminal law and religious sentiment at the 
time, for slaying a poor woman's husband, — pleading to be let off for little of pecuniary 
fine, but offering large " bodily exercise," in the shape of making pilgrimages to the 
three head shrines of Scotland, there to do penance, and offer " messes and suffragis for 
the saul " of the slaughtered man. 

The belief of that age in the efficacy of pilgrimage to certain shrines for the relief 
of bodily, as well as spiritual, necessities, is curiously illustrated by a record lately dis- 
covered under the hands of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, dated 27th July, 1445, 
certifying that a man from Aberdeen, travelling to the shrine of St. Mary of Segut, 
diverged to the shrine of St. Thomas of Canterbury, and there was cured of lameness 
caused by contracted feet, and grievous sores with worms, so that he danced on the 
ground for three days. He afterwards went to a famous shrine in Germany. The case, 
it may be observed, also throws light upon the habits of travel, and the ability to meet 
the expenses of such a journey to be found in Aberdeenshire at the time. 


"We know somewhat of the local clergy of the period — the directors, as far as such 
officials can be, of the religious sentiment of society and the representatives of its best 
condition of intellectual culture. They appear characterized, as their order has been at 
many periods of history, by liberal expenditure of their incomes upon objects deemed in 
their time to be of religious importance. 

The marriage contract of Andrew Glaster and Janet Lichton was witnessed by the 
Vicar of Inverurie — the first we can name since Dominus Thomas of 1297, who was the 
contemporary of Bruce and Wallace, and possibly the parish priest of the last of the 
Constables. In 1428, Latin had ceased to be the absolutely sacred language of ecclesi- 
astical nomenclature, and the vicar is named Maister Walter Ydill. Before that century 
ended the Vicar was styled neither Dominus nor Maister but Schir — a title, however, 
interchangeable with Master. 

There were at least two successors of Walter Ydill and William Scrogy (and per- 
haps Bobert Howieson), in the kirk of Inverurie, during the century, after 1466 and 

Schyr George Andersone had been Vicar before 1494, when his executors obtained 
a decreet of the Lords of Council for 50 merks against William Garioch, burgess of 
Aberdeen, which debt they had ceded to Schyr Alexander Monymele, chaplain. 

In 1492, Magister Andro Bisset was Vicar of Inverurie. In that year he and 

Local Clergy. 125 

Duncan Scherare, rector of Clatt, each obtained a disposition by the Bishop of 16 per- 
ticates or roods of land in the city of Aberdeen, lying west from the Manse of Inner- 
nochty. Bisset was, in 1498, witness to a deed by Alexander Johnston of that Ilk, dis- 
poning a tenement in Old Aberdeen, lying north and west from the Manse of Mortlach, 
near the common passage from the Canonry of Aberdeen, which leads to the hill of 
Dillydron. The members of the Chapter evidently had official dwellings in that quiet 
and lovely spot ; and some of the parish priests, not belonging to their body, may, like 
Andrew Bisset, have sought admission into the social coterie, and built town manses 
amongst them. 

After Master Andro, we know the name of only one other Vicar of Inverurie — 
Gilbert Cranstons, who is commemorated in affectionate terms by the celebrated Parson 
of Kinkell — Alexander Galloway. 

The nearest clerical neighbours to the Inverurie Vicars, in the fifteenth century, 
were Henry Lichton, parson of Kinkell in 1410; William Auchinleck, parson in 1473, 
and also Collyhill Chaplain at the Chapel of the Garioch ; and Adam of Gordon in 
1494. James Ogilvie, parson of Kinkell and Abbot of Dryburgh, died at Paris, May 
30, 1518. Alexander Galloway was Collyhill Chaplain twelve years before that, and 
may have succeeded the Abbot at Kinkell. In 1454, Thomas Singlar, or Sinklar, was 
Vicar of Logydurnocht, and John Murray, or Mureff, Vicar of Oyne. In 1455, James 
Cruickshank was Vicar of Daviot. 

The Kirk of Kinkell, whose sepulchral riches were, we may believe, increased by 
several of the heroes of Harlaw, besides Gilbert de Greenlaw, was in 1420, with its six 
subordinate kirks — of Kintore, Kemnay, Skene, Kinnellar, Drumblade, and Dyce — 
erected into a prebend of Aberdeen, by its former Parson, Henry Lichton, who was then 
Bishop of Aberdeen, after having held the See of Moray. 

Henry Lichton was the priest who had received for sepulture, in St. Michael's of 
Kinkell, the body of the Harlaw soldier, Gilbert de Greenlaw. That ecclesiastic has a 
nobler monument existing at the present day, than most of his contemporaries of the 
same rank. The west front of the Cathedral of Old Machar and its two fine towers 
were built by Bishop Lichton, as was a part of the building which afterwards fell into 
ruin along with Bishop Elphinstone's central tower, built nearly a century later. Bishop 
Lichton had two namesakes, possibly brothers, in the church in 1422, Alexander, Prior 
of Torphichen. and Duncan, chancellor of Aberdeen, from 1436 to 1464. 

The early history of the good Bishop's Garioch church is not known. With its six 
chapels it was a monument of the times of the Knights Templars (1118-1312), and had 
the appellation of ecclesia plebania. The ruin now existing is not part of Henry 
Lichton's church but of one built more than a century after his time, partly, at least, 
by Alexander Galloway, a man not less celebrated, though never attaining the mitre. 
After Alexander Galloway, Henry Lumsden appears Rector of Kinkell in 1545, and 
again Prebendary in 1563. Thomas Lumsden was parson in 1571. 

126 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

The ex officio position of the Parson of Rayne enables us to identify three of John 
Barbour's successors. Priest Lundie, the military hero of Otterburn, is said to have been 
Archdeacon of Aberdeen, and if so, must have succeeded John Barbour almost im- 
mediately. Thomas Tynningham appears in deeds as Archdeacon from 1423 to 1436, 
and Lawrence Pyot from 1450 to 1478. 

If the Chancellor was always Vicar of Bethelnie, then Hugh Bennum held that 
cure in 1268, Alexander Inglis in 1404, Duncan Petit 1424-6, Duncan Lichton 
1436-64, Alexander Inglis 1476, John Reid 1543, and Alexander Seton 1556. 

The kirk of Daviot, held along with the office of Treasurer, must have been served 
by Andrew Liel, from 1470 to 1475, when Andrew Bell appears in 1476. Andrew Liel, 
probably a second of the name, is recorded in 1491 and 1501, and Robert Elphinstone, 
probably a younger son of the Glack family, in 1522. Patrick Myreton who witnessed 
the Reformation changes, was there from 1569 to 1571. 

Monymusk, for some period, however long, before the Reformation, had a Vicar as 
well as the Monastic establishment. The latter was in the end of the fifteenth century, 
requiring protection from its lay neighbours the Forbeses ; one of which name, in time, 
succeeded in possessing himself of its wealthy territories. 

The church tower, still standing, commemorates the visit of the last Gaelic-speaking 
King to its sacred precincts, where Celtic civilization had its first abode in the Garioch. 
Two Norman arches within the church, are memorials of the same period. In the fif- 
teenth century it continued to retain for its priests the name of Culdees ; of whom it 
possessed four. These were also called Denes, and were presided over by a Prior, in 
conformity with the constitution of the Augustinian Priory of St. Andrews, of which 
Monymusk was a cell. 

It had been absorbed in that form into the Roman Catholic Church, before 1211. 
In 1337, Brice, Prior at that time, disponed part of the lands to the Bishop of St. 
Andrews ; and likewise the patronage of the Priory, to the extent of selecting a 
Prior from among three Canons, presented to him by the Culdees. The Culdees, at the 
same time, agreed to do the Bishop homage by meeting him in procession, on his visits 
to Monymusk ; and consented to have no separate burying ground attached to the Priory. 

The establishment contained one oratory, one refectory, and one dormitory ; and 
had attached to it, besides two gardens, a croft equal to ten bolls' sowing, and pasture 
for six horses and fifteen wethers. The lands of Abersnithock (Braehead), Ramstone, 
Ardniedly and Balvack belonged to it. The ancient patronage of the churches of Kin- 
drocht, Keig, Alford and Leochel the Priory seems to have retained down to the time 
of the Reformation. 

The rental of the Priory from these four parishes and the names (recognizable under 
their ancient spelling) of the lands yielding it, are preserved in the rent-roll of the 
Forbes famity. 

In Alford the establishment derived from Argathyne 40 merks ; Aslong, 18 lbs. ; 

Local Clergy. 127 

Auchintowill, 20 lbs.; Carnav>rane, U merks ; Archballoch, 17 lbs. and 12 geese; 
Kynstare, 21 lbs. 6s. 8d. ; Lytilldindivie, 4 lbs. 13s. 4d. ; Tullichetlie, 4 lbs. 13s. 4d. ; 
Braidgauch of Kynstare, with the myll, 10 lbs. 13s. 4d. ; Mekilldindovie, 13 lbs. 6s. 
8d. ; Pofluge, 4 lbs. ; Bandly, 4 lbs. 13s. 4d. ; Baddivine, . 

In Keig— teind silver— Sevidlie, 19 lbs. 6s. 8d. ; Westerkeig, 16 lbs. ; Ballgawan, 
10 lbs. ; Brvnye, 4 lbs. ; Puttachy, 8 lbs. ; Auchnagathill, 6 lbs. 13s. 4d. ; Pittendreich, 
6 lbs. 13s. 4d. ; Glentoune, 7 lbs. 6s. 8d. ; Mylln of Keig, 2 lbs. 

In Leochel — Craigyvare, 40 lbs.; Lenturkis, 16 lbs. : Esterfoullis, with the myll, 
12 lbs. 13s. 4d. ; Westerfoullis, 8 lbs. ; Craigmyll, 3 lbs. 6s. 8d. ; Ouer Loehal, 10 lbs., 
twa wedders. 

Kyndrocht, 45 lbs. 

Temporal lands of Lochalle, 32 lbs., with 7 dissoun pultre, twa weddirs, twa boillis 
aitts, with the fodder; Thomebeg, 40 sh. ; Abersnythock, 11 lbs. 6s. 8d., 3 dissoun of 
eapones, twa wedders; the Mains of Monymusk, 26 lbs. 13s. 4d. 

The vicarages paid to Alford, Leochel, and Keig by the Priory were 50 merks, 
20 lbs., and 20 lbs. At some period a Jon Straquhen contracted with Lord Forbes to do 
the whole duties thought necessary, including quarterly preaching, paying his Lordship 
12 lbs. out of the total vicarage. 

Andrew, Prior of Monymusk, was a witness to a deed by Thomas, Earl of Mar, in 

In 1496, when its tiends were in danger, Master Gavin Douglas seems to have 
been Prior; and, hi the reign of James IV., the office was held by Richard Strachan, 
whose illegitimate daughter was married to William Forbes of Braehead, a son of the 
first Forbes of Tolquhon. 

Thomas Scherar was Vicar of Monymusk in 1524, when John Akynheid was Prior, 
and John Hay was a Canon regular. 

In 1522, John Akynheid had David Farlie appointed as his colleague, the emeritus 
Prior enjoying certain frudus of the benefice. A document in relation to this matter 
records the fact that Lord Forbes was under obligation to defend the Priory in all 
causes and actions — a species of patronage which seems not to have induced him to 
interfere when his clansman, Duncan Forbes took somewhat violent possession of the 
whole property. 

In 1534, David Farlie, with consent of John Akynheid, revoked certain tacks of 
land given by former Priors, Dene Alexander Spens and Dene Richard Strachan. The 
names of the Canons about that time included William Wilson, Andrew Mason, Patrick 
Anderson, and James Child. Farlie's introduction was probably required for the 
restoration of discipline. Insubordination seems to have crept into the small com- 
munity, and Dene Alane Gait, one of the Canons, was condemned to solitude, with 
a diet of bread and ale and water, until the Prior should judge him worthy to be 
released from penance. David Farlie had to defend the property of the monastery, as 

128 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

well as its character, and got legal authority in 1542, to restrain a neighbour, " Bous- 
teous John " Forbes, from occupying four oxgang of his lands. 

The Vicar of Monymusk, in 1535, was John Reid, in which year he was a witness, 
along with William Hurrie of Pitfichie, to a notarial protest taken by Dene Alane Gait 
against Prior Farlie's proceedings. 

John Elphinstone, a son of the second Lord Elphinstone, was appointed coadjutor to 
David Farlie, in 1542, by the Earl of Arran, then Governor of Scotland ; and the two 
Priors, with the consent of the Canons, signed the charter of the Priory lands, which 
legalized the possession taken of them by Duncan Forbes, the first Forbes of Mony- 

The last Prior, Robert, fourth son of William Lord Forbes, elected Prior in 1556, 
adopted the Protestant faith, and married Agnes, daughter of William Forbes of Corse ; 
and, in 1570, James Johnston was parson of Monymusk, and one of the Chapter of 
Aberdeen ; he was possibly the last Roman Catholic incumbent. 

The first half of the century that was fatal to the Church of Rome in Scotland, 
exhibits several incidents of quiet life in the Garioch, chiefly clerical. In 1503, William 
Blakhall of that Ilk appears in a charter of James IV., as Coroner and Forester of the 
Garioch. In the preceding year Adam Gordon, rector of Kinkell, patron of the six 
Churches of Skene, Kinnellar, Dyce, Kintore, Kemnay, and Drumblade, appointed as 
his vicar pensioner at Kemnay, John Gareaueht, with 10 lbs. of a stipend — a modest 
living, for which he served the cure long. In 1540, Gareaueht appointed his brother, 
Alexander, his clerk-depute there. The laird of Kemnay, Sir Archibald Douglas of 
Glenbervie, who signed the deed of appointment as witness, had come to look at his 
Kemnay property in 1534. When he was at the house, with a notary, taking an in- 
ventory of its ruinous furnishings, nothing seems to have been in repair, but two fixed 
beds and a gauntrees. Sir Archibald was the second Douglas of Kemnay. His father, 
Sir William, son of Archibald, 5th Earl of Angus, known as " Bell the Cat," was 
slain at Flodden ; and his son, also Sir William, became 9th Earl of Angus. 

In 1505, the last addition to the chaplainry endowments of the Chapel of the 
Blessed Virgin of the Garioch, was made by Sir Alexander Galloway, at that time the 
Collyhill Chaplain, but afterwards the best known of the Parsons of Kinkell. His 
gift to the ancient and honoured Chapel he had bought from the Baron of Balquhain. 
It consisted of two acres of land, bounded on the east and south by Balquhain's 
lands, on the west by the croft of the Chaplain of Pitcaple, and on the north by the 
lands of Lord Erskine (now Pittodrie), and of Alexander Winton of Andat. The de- 
scription of the acres would appear to make them part of the present glebe of the 
Minister of Chapel of Garioch. 

The ground was for the erection of a manse for himself and successors, the 
Chaplains of Collyhill ; and the Collyhill Chaplain was to pay out of his rents, 
annually, five shillings usual money of Scotland, to the other five chaplains, in equal 

Local Clergy. 129 

portions of twelve pennies each, on the morrow of the Assumption of the Blessed 
Virgin, for which they, along with the Collyhill Chaplain, were, two and two together, 
to celebrate masses on that day for the souls of the after-mentioned persons, also saying 
the psalm, " Lord, thou hast searched me," — the collect, " To Thee, O Lord," — and the 
" De Profundis ". The service was to be for the souls of the founder and his parents, 
of William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen, his own special patron, of Walter Ogilvy 
of the Boyne, Knight, of Andrew Elphinstone of Selmys, of Duncan Schexare, once 
rector of Clatt, of William Leslie of Balquhain, and of his wife, Elizabeth Ogilvy. 
Bobert Patonsoune and David Liell, chaplains, probably two of his colleagues, were 
among the witnesses to the deed of gift. 

The picturesque deed is the last chapter we have of the history of the aristocratic 
little temple, until sixty years thereafter; when it enjoyed its last brilliancy, but also 
the sunset of its worldly glory, in the presence at its masses of Mary, Queen of Scots, 
the young widow of France, then making her first progress through her ancestral king- 
dom, in which she had hoped never to have to dwell, and over which she was so ill 
prepared to reign. 

At the time of Galloway's foundation, the rector, or parson, of Kinkell was James 
Ogilvie ; who also held the much higher dignity of Abbot, or Commendator, of Dry- 
burgh, where it is likely his residence was. He died at Paris in 1518 ; and seems to 
have been succeeded in Kinkell by Alexander Galloway. 

Of the men of less mark, who were discharging the priest's office in the several 
parishes of the Garioch when the two important centuries were meeting, some names 
have been preserved. Andrew Bisset, vicar of Inverurie in 1498, had as neighbour at 
Kintore, Gilbert Chalmer, chaplain, like the chaplain of Kemnay, under the parson of 
Kinkell. Sir John Stirling was, in the same year, a notary public in the neighbouring 
burgh, as he was during many following years. 

In 1529, Andrew Cullen was parson of Fetternear. His successor, Andrew Leslie, 
was also Sheriff-Clerk of the County, and held both offices until after the Beformation 
— doubtless by help of Sir William Leslie of Balquhain, Sheriff- Depute of Aberdeen, who 
for his stout defence of the Cathedral, from the southern rabble that came over the Tollo- 
hill to destroy it, received from Bishop William Gordon, a disposition of the Bishop's 
palace and lands of Fetternear, in 1566. 

There is preserved a list of the Bishop's tenants in 1511, when his lands of Fetter- 
near were let in holdings of four oxgangs each : They were John Stevin, 4 bouate ; 
William Smith, 4 ; John Barcar, 4 ; Elizabeth Kow, 4 ; William Bisset, 6 ; William 
Cristison, 2 ; William Benzie, 4 ; Alexander Cristison, 4. Some of these may well 
have been ancestors of families bearing the same surnames still in the neighbourhood. 

Two years later, 1513, the head of the Caskieben Johnstons fell at Flodden, as has 
been noticed. Among the witnesses to a charter in 1509, securing to William Johnston 


130 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

of that Ilk the lands of Bendauch in Dyce, Antony Keith occurs,, a name well known 
on the Caskieben estates three centuries later ; also Mr. Alexander Seton, vicar of 
Bethelny, the laird of Meldruni's brother ; and Mr. Gilbert Chalmer, vicar of Tulich. 

A peculiar illustration of tenant right occurred in 1514, — that of a blacksmith 
receiving infeftment in his office. 


The tumultuous century which witnessed Harlaw, had a history of remarkably con- 
trasting elements. Containing that episode of civil war, containing also the spectacle of 
the crown being able to influence a commission of Parliament, composed of the chief 
nobles of the land, to frustrate the just action of the Courts of Law in protecting a 
subject in his rights against the King, it exhibits to us the establishing of three of the 
great civilizing institutions of Scotland, which subsequently elevated the nation to so 
high a position in education, compared with its social wealth. The Universities of St. 
Andrews, Glasgow, and Old Aberdeen, were founded in 1411, 1451, and 1494 

The last was due to the patriotism of a man of pre-eminent abilities, one of the 
honourable names belonging to the Garioch — like John Barbour before, and Arthur 
Johnston afterwards. Bishop Elphinstone, the founder, and, to a large extent, the first 
endower of King's College, Aberdeen, was a relative of the laird of Glack. He was the 
son of a priest, "William Elphinstone, rector of Kirkmichael, and Archdeacon of Teviot- 
dale, who belonged to the ennobled branch of the Elphinstones. An uncle, Laurence 
Elphinstone, was, after young William's education at Glasgow had been completed, the 
means of stimulating him to an ambitious career. He sent him to Paris, where he 
pursued for a time what was then the chief study of ecclesiastics, viz., the Canon Law, 
his knowledge of which he subsequently perfected at Orleans, then celebrated in that 
respect. He is said to have taken his degree of Master of Arts, and, in the same year, 
priest's orders, at the age of twenty-four. He was nominated bishop in 1483, only after 
he had shown himself, in public business, capable of great services to his country. He 
died, 25th October 1514, in the 83d or 84th year of his age. 

Like more than one occupant of the See of Aberdeen, Bishop Elphinstone was at 
one time Chancellor of the Kingdom. It was not lives like those of Elphinstone and of a 
successor, Bishop Dunbar, that provoked the outburst of popular feeling against the clergy, 
which accompanied the Beformation. Yet the revival of learning, of which the 
institution of the three universities was an effect, took the higher clergy so much to 
Paris, the seat, at that period, of a great university — which became the chief model of 
the new Scottish universities — that the more luxurious life of the French capital had an 
evil influence on their fitness for their place at home among their ruder fellow-country- 

Learning, 131 

men. The insidious vice of the great city also doubtless corrupted the morals of many 
of them, and prepared for the extinction of their order in the following century. 

One of Bishop Elphinstone's principal plans for the university he founded was the 
erection of a school of theology in it, to be called the College of St. Mary's, for the 
training of six students supported by endowments. Andrew Elphinstone of Selmys, who 
resigned Glack into the Bishop's hands, as Superior, for investiture of his brother Nicolas, 
helped largely by gifts from other lands possessed by him, in the provision necessary 
for the proposed college ; and out of his gifts the Bishop allotted to one of the students 
an aliment of eight pounds Scots a-year. Besides Theology, the university was designed 
for the study of Canon and Civil law, Medicine and Music. 

A number of retours made a little before 1512, by Alexander Bannerman of 
"Waterton, Sheriff Depute of Aberdeenshire, afford us a list, probably not far from com- 
plete, of the resident landed gentry of the county ; from whose families the Bishop would 
expect to be produced the earliest alumni of his university. The Garioch furnishes 
the names of Tillydaff, Blakhall, and Johnston, — all of that Ilk ; Cruickshank of 
Tillymorgan (and Little Warthill), Chalmer of Strichen, Gordon of Over (and 
Nether) Bodome, Urrie of Pitfichie, Forbes of Kinnellar (and Thainston), Barclay 
of Towie (and Bourtie), Leslie of Wardes, Leslie of Ardoyne, Leslie of Balquhain, 
Mortimer of Cragievar (and Achorthies), Winton of Andait (and Drumdurno), Wood 
of Bonynton, Kyng of Barracht, Gordon of Methlic (and Braco). Other names, of 
which some are extinct, like part of the above, were Udny, Skene, Knox, Dunbrek, 
Leask, Ogston, and Allardes, — all of that Ilk ; Gordon of Schivas, Gordon of Uthaw, 
Gordon of Kennerty, Gordon of Abergeldy, Fraser of Philorth, Fraser of Staniewood 
(ancestor of Lord Fraser and Fraser of Castle Fraser), Chene of Essilmond, Chene of 
Straloch, Crawford of Federay, Forbes of Echt, Forbes of Tolquhon, Forbes of Towys, 
Vaus of Meny, Stuart of Laithers, Garden of Dorlaithers, Annand of Ochterellon, 
Troup of Comalegy, Hay of Ardendraught, Hay of Delgaty, Harrower of Ardgrain, 
Bedheuch of Tillychiddel, Mowat of Loseragy, Dempster of Ochterless, Burnet of Gask, 
Burnet of Balmaud, Turing of Foverne, Panton of Petmethane, Hepburn of Craigis, 
Duguid of Auchenhuff, Tulloch of Moncoffer, Caldour of Synaharde, Dalgarno of 
Dalgarno Finteray, Boss of Auchlossin, Keith of Inverugie, Crag of Cragsfmtra, Cum- 
minge of Culter, Buchan of Auchmacoy, Panton of Haudauch, Strachan of Glenkindie, 
Leith of Barnes. The names are given in the orthography of the documents. 

Mr. Cosmo Innes writes that, in 1549, when Alexander Galloway, Parson of 
Kinkell, was Bector of the University, his record of visitation exhibits it in a low 
condition. There were no lay teachers, and few students ; only such as were preparing 
for the church, or to practice in its courts. Bursars of Arts were not admissible, unless 
" mere pauperes." and they were educated and maintained gratis. Beformers of the 
University in subsequent times found the same radical defects continuing ; and Bishop 

132 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Patrick Forbes, in 1619, had to devote his influence and opportunities, not only to pro- 
vide a satisfactory teaching agency, but also to collect pupils to be taught. All along, it is 
evident that the resort to the Universities, in early times as now, was for such education 
or lea rning as would be of pecuniary value. Law and the universal language — Latin — 
were the acquisitions most helpful to promotion in Bishop Elphinstone's time ; and the 
alumn i of his University only studied as he himself had done. The Universities did 
not provide much of systematic education. They were, in reality, but recognized places 
where the studious, and persons professing to teach, might expect to meet for any one 
study or another. The graduates of a University were bound to teach in it for some 
time after taking their degree ; but permanent professors were perhaps exceptional 
Teachers moved from University to University according as their own reputation or a 
concurrence of students promised them better remuneration. It is to this habit of 
learned men travelling both for study and the hope of preferment, that we are to 
attribute the number of Scottish scholars whose fame connected them in former days 
with celebrated Continental Universities, and not to the existence of such an apprecia- 
tion of their value as, in modern times, leads to a teacher of eminence being invited to 
fill a University Chair. 

In 1514, the patriotic founder of King's College died. He had contemplated 
another great benefaction to Aberdeen, the establishment of good communication with 
the south of Scotland, by a bridge over the Dee, and he left that task in charge to his 
friend, Gavin Dunbar, who became Bishop in 1518, after the Laird of Haddo's son had 
held the office for four years. To the support of the bridge, Dunbar dedicated the 
lands of Ardlair in Kennethmont, which the Bishops of Aberdeen got, before 1199, from 
David, Earl of* Huntingdon and the Garioch, in exchange for the tenths of certain Garioch 
parishes. Dunbar was a worthy successor of "William Elphinstone in public spirit, and 
began the work as soon as he was in the Episcopal chair. The bridge was completed in 
six; years ; and in 1529 the mortification of Ardlair for its upholding was executed, 
Provost Gilbert Menzies undertaking the trust on the part of the town. The bridge 
continued until the eighteenth century, when it was rebudt with seven arches. It was 
first constructed with ten. 

The architect of that work was Alexander Galloway, Parson of Kinkell, an excellent 
example of the better class of clergy at the period, learned in the degree then possible, 
and munificent. His provision for the Collyhill chaplain of the Garioch has been 
noticed. He afterwards purchased from William, Earl Marischal, a similar benefaction, 
which he bestowed on his chaplain at the Kirk of Skene. 

Architecture was much studied by the more educated clergy of the time. A former 
parson of Kinkell, Bishop Lichton, built an aisle, now destroyed, to the Cathedral, 
where he wished to be buried. Galloway seems to have given large attention to the 
favourite subject. He left some exquisite sculpture in his own Kirk of Kinkell, which 

Learning. 133 

the ministers of Kinkell, in covenanting times, apparently could not bring themselves 
to destroy completely, though repeatedly ordered, on their peril, by the Synod to 
obliterate the " superstitious monuments ". He probably also aided in the erection of 
Bishop Dunbar's magnificent episcopal palace. On his own account he made some 
additions to the Cathedral Close, in which he provided a lodging for the Parson of 
Kinkell's chaplain. The city of Aberdeen also employed him to superintend some 
works of importance on the city walls which were thought necessary. 

His name is associated with a more enduring work, the completion of the chartulary 
of Aberdeen, which he directed, employing a Carmelite monk, William Scevan (Shewan) 
to write it out. Through that document, Inverurie is indebted to him for the first 
extant notice of its magistrates. Mr. Alexander Galloway seems to have been one of a 
class of public men, fortunately never unrepresented, who being both capable and willing, 
have assigued to them, by their less industrious neighbours, the combined honour and 
burden of executing every troublesome piece of work. 

The Parson of Kinkell's beautiful church was, long after his death, utilised as he 
himself had been, during his life, for the relief of duties which should have been 
otherwise performed. In 1774, the heritors of the united parishes of Keithhall and 
Kinkell removed the roof of it, to form the roof of the new church they were, in 1773, 
obliged to build. Decay and depredation soon followed the free entrance thus permitted 
to the elements. The initials of the builder are seen in an accidentally protected bit of 
wall, still perfectly fresh, upon a small bit of as well preserved sculpture. 

Other moveable portions of the disintegrated temple were transported to greater 
distances from their own position. The baptismal font was found some years since 
utilised for some gardening purpose in Aberdeen, and was acquired by the proprietors of 
St. John's Episcopal Chapel in Aberdeen, who had it polished and appropriated to 
sacred uses in their congregation. A piece of beautiful sculpture, of the same style and 
scale as that remaining in the ruins of the Kirk of Kinkell, is now built into the wall of 
the Church of Kintore. It had apparently been the reredos of an altar to the Virgin 
in the Kirk of that parish, which was one of the six chapels subordinate to the rector of 
Kinkell. The relic was found in Aberdeen, and was placed hi its present position by 
Mr. Eobert Shand, son of a late minister of Kintore. 

The disuse of the Kirk of Kinkell, in 1773, arose from a movement made, twenty 
years before, by the ministers of Keith-hall (Monkegy) and Kinkell, for obtaining an 
augmentation of stipend. The heritors of the parishes proposed instead that the parish 
of 'Kinkell should be divided, and annexed to the adjoining parishes of Keith-hall 
and Kintore. Their design was that the Kirk of Kinkell should be retained as 
the Church of a united parish of Keith-hall and Kinkell ; the Kirk of Monkegy being, 
it is likely, dilapidated, as no remains exist of it now. The inconvenient position of 
the Kirk of Kinkell for the united parish led to that proposal being resisted, and the 

1 34 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Court of Session ultimately ordered a new Church to be built in the centre of the parish, 
where the building, erected in 1773, still continues. 

A writer in 1732 says that the Kirk of Kinkell had formerly a turret in the middle 
and a great window in the east end. Its chancel was separated from the rest of the 
church by a timber wall, and on the south side of the chancel it had three pillars. The 
pillars are now gone, and the remains still apparent are described by Mr. Jervise 
(Epitaphs and Inscriptions) thus: "The aumbry is flanked by two graceful scrolls, 
underneath is the inscription — 



(Here is preserved the Body born of the Virgin.) 

Below on the centre of the sill of the aumbry, a shield bears the Scotch Lion, over 
which is the word MEOEAEE. Upon the right are the initials A.G. ; on the left, 
ANO D;N t I 1528. 

In the same wall, a little to the westward of the aumbry, and within a plain stone 
frame, is a fine carving of Our Saviour upon the Cross, with the legend ESTBI upon the 
arms of the calvary. A winged angel in the act of raising the host (!) kneels upon the 
left side of the cross, below which a ribbon between four human heads bears prs satom 
(preces sanctorum). Upon the right of the cross stands a draped figure with nimbus — 
below is the fragment of a smaller figure, apparently seated. The calvary or cross 
is raised upon three steps, in front of which is a chalice, also the remains of some other 
object. Below are the initials A.G., and incised upon the frame A.G. AjSTO. 1525. 
The dates probably refer to the beginning and completion of the work." The writer of 
1723 read OBIJTM. A.G. 1528, which might indicate that there had been two Gallo- 
ways, which does not seem to have been the case. 

The earliest fruits of the revival of learning in the age that preceded the Reforma- 
tion, were not scientific, but belonged almost wholly to the departments of aesthetic 
culture, with the addition of a little metaphysical philosophy. The models of taste 
found in the treasures of Greek and Roman manuscripts, then newly discovered, and the 
beauties of form exhibited by the remains of architecture and sculpture in the classic 
lands, awoke the fresh faculties of a new race to a fascinating enjoyment, and drew them 
on to the study of art, with results which no after period has excelled. It was, how- 
ever, a luxurious kind of intellectual life that was ministered to by the success of so 
many labourers as arose in the field of aesthetic study ; and, unfortunately, the sort of 
sensuous delight became too readily attractive to the spirits of the wealthy within, as 
widl as beyond, the Church ; and Pagan metaphysics did not counteract the tendency. 
Regent Albany, the centre of the corrupt court during the reign of the first three 
Stewarts, could discourse philosophy grandly. Polish and looseness of morals grew 

Learning. \ 35 

together among the educated clergy, and in the end provoked the Preformation even to 
the length of destroying many works of art associated with scandalous histories. 

Science, as the word is now understood, had its fundamental principles recognized 
only afterwards, in the severer state of society which followed the Reformation, when 
the golden age of painting and architecture was past ; and it is amusing as well as 
instructive to read the theories formed, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, upon 
subjects of experimental philosophy, by men whom we must acknowledge as masters in 
the department of taste. 

The accomplished, tasteful, and generous Parson of Kinkell, Alexander Galloway, 
has left behind him a study in natural science, which must amuse any reader trained 
to modern accuracy of observation. Along with the celebrated Principal of King's 
College, Hector Boethius, he made a voyage to the Western Isles of Scotland, to study 
some remarkable phenomena reported to exist there. The Principal has recorded their 
study and conclusions in a treatise " On the Nature of the Hebridean Isles and the 
Goosebearing Trees ". 

" The Claik Geis remains now to speak of ; the geis generit of the sea namit clakis. Some men 
believes thir clakis grows on trees by the uebs. But their opinion is vain. And because the nature 
and procreation of thir clakis is strange, we have made no little labour and diligence to search the 
truth and verity thereof. We have saelit throw the seas where thir clakis are bred, and find by great 
experience that the nature of the seas is mair relevant cause of their procreation than any other thing. 
And howbeit the geis are bred many sundry ways, they are bred aye allenarly by the nature of the 
seas. For all trees that are cassen in the seas by the process of time appears first wormeaten, and in 
the small bores and holes thereof grows small worms. First they show their head and feet, and last 
of all they show their plumes and wings. Finally, when they are coming to the just measure and 
quantity of geis, they Hie in the air as other fowls does, as was notably proven in the year of God one 
thousand four hundred and eighty, in sicht of many people, beside the Castle of Pitsligo. Ane great 
tree was there brought to the laird of the ground, whilk soon after gart divide it by ane saw. 
Apperit then ane multitude of worms thrawing themselves out of syndry holes and bores of this tree. 
Some of them were rude, as if but new schapen. Some of them had baith head, feet, and wings, but 
they had nae fedders. Some of them were perfect schapen fowlis. At last the people, having this 
tree ilk day mair in admiration, brocht it to the Kirk of Sanct Andrew's beside the town of Fyvie, 
where it remains yet to our days And within twa years after happenit sic ane like tree to come in 
the Firth of Tay, beside Dundee, worm-eaten and full of young geis in the same manner. Sick-like in 
the port of Leith, beside Edinburgh, within few years after happenit sic like ane case of ane schip 
named the Cristofer (after that she had lain three years at anchor in one of thir isles) was brocht to 
Leith, and because her timmer (as appeirit) failed, she was broken down. Incontinent appeirit (as 
afore) all the inmost parts of her worm-eaten and all the holes thereof full of geis in the same manner 
as we have schawin. Attoure gif any man would allege by vain argument that this Cristofer was made 
of sic trees as grows allenarly on the His and that all the roots and trees that grows in the said Isles 
are of that nature to be finally by nature of the seas resolvit in geis, we prief the contre thereof by ane 
notable example schawin afore our ane. Maister Alexander Galloway, Parson of Kynkell, was with us 
in thir Islis gevand his mind with most earnest busyness to search the verity of thir obscure and misty 
doubts, and by adventure lifted up the sea tangle hyngand full of missil shells frae the root to the 
branches. Soon after he openit some of the musyll schells, but then he was mair astonyt than before. 
For lie saw no fische in it but ane perfect schapen fowl, small and great, aye effeiring to the quantity 
of the schell. This clerk knowin' us richt desirous of sic uncouth tilings came hastily with the said 
tangle and openit it with all circumstance afore rehersit. By thir and many other reasons and 
examples we can not believe that thir clakis are producit by any nature of trees or roots thereof, but 
allenarly by the nature of the ocean sea which is the cause and production of many wonderful things. 
And because the rude and ignorant pepyl saw ofttimes the fruits that fall off the trees (whilk stand 
near the sea) convertit within short time iii geis they believe't that thir geis grew upon the trees hin- 

136 Inverurie and the Earldom of Hie Garioch. 

gaud by tlier nibs siclike as apples and other fruits hings by their stalks, but their opinion is nocht to 
be sustenit. For as soon as thir apples or fruits falls off the tree in the sea flood they grow first 
worm-eaten and by schort process of time are alterit in geis. " — Bocthius' Oosmographie. 

The estimable Alexander Galloway's incumbency at Kinkell was a long one, 
extending from 1518 to 1552, when he died October 6. He lived, it is likely, for a 
number of years before his death in the Canonry. having a vicar at Kinkell. In 1543, 
the duties of the parish were discharged in this way by Alexander Anderson, Sub- 
Principal of King's College, afterwards the last Roman Catholic Principal. Galloway 
and the parson of Clatt were Bishop Dunbar's executors. Mr. Alexander Spittert and 
they built the chaplain's house, where the Divinity Manse was until 1820. Like the 
Palace, which stood east of the Cathedral, it was built in a form suited for defence, that 
of a court having a well in the centre. As was the fashion of his time, Alexander Gallo- 
way founded an altar, that of St. Michael, the patron saint of Kinkell, in the Cathedral. 

Galloway seems to have been the leading spirit of the Chapter, getting everything 
of consequence to attend to, and willingly undertaking the tasks. We are indebted to 
him for our earliest information concerning Inverurie burgage holders and burgh 
officials, from 1464 to 1487, whose names are preserved in the Cathedral Chartulary, 
which he employed the monk Scevan to write out. His gifts to the chaplains of the 
Cathedral were numerous, and in confirming one of them in 1537, Bishop Gordon, 
Dunbar's successor, states that he had done especial service to the Church of Aberdeen, 
both in Scotland and in Flanders. In 1543, he granted to the chaplains Crynes land, 
in Futtie. How these were his property, whether by heritage or purchase, does not 
appear. In 1549 he was for the fourth time Rector of King's College, where a name- 
sake, probably a relative, held the office of sub-principal in 1569. 

Alexander Galloway had a nephew, "William Galloway, a brother's son, who got, 
in 1545, a feu of the Kirktown of Culsalmond from the Abbey of Lindores. In 
1549, he was requested by the Chapter of the Diocese to draw up an inventory of the 
jewels belonging to the Cathedral, the occasion of which lets in a glimpse of the coming 
light of the Reformation — as the lairds of Scotland understood the reformation proper for 
the Church, after they were enlightened by the performances in that way of Henry the 
Eighth and his English barons. In 1544, two years after the disastrous rout of the Scot- 
tish army at the Solway Moss, and the consequent death of the King, James V., leaving 
his successor, Queen Mary, an infant of eight days old, the Bishop of Aberdeen, afraid of 
the northward progress of the English forces into the county, sent a servant with all the 
Cathedral plate, and jewels, and vestments, to deposit them in a place of safety. A 
little beyond the Bridge of Don, the man was attacked and robbed of his charge by 
James Forbes of Corsindae, who refused to give up the stolen goods to the Bishop, 
except for a perpetual feu of the lands of Montgarry, in Tullynessle, or the payment of 
six hundred merks ; which sum was actually paid him afterwards. Their being thus 
recovered, in 1549, was the occasion of the parson of Kinkell being asked to make an 

Life among the Barons on the Eve of the Reformation. , 137 

inventory of the various articles. In that same year Corsindae seems to have advanced 
some money to the Priory of Monymusk, in payment of which he is said to have pos- 
sessed himself of the whole lands at the Eeformation. Certain rents, payable to the 
Crown from the Priory of Monymusk, appear so long afterwards as in 1695, granted 
along with the rents of Auchlossan and of the Abbey of Crossraguel, by order of King 
William, to his chaplain, and chief adviser on ecclesiastical matters in Scotland, Mr. 
William Carstairs. 


The unfortunate condition of Israel when there was no king, and " every man did 
that which was right in his own eyes," represents very much the experience of social 
life, in Scotland, during the reigns of the Stewarts. From the days of David Bruce, 
the weak son of Scotland's greatest king, the country owed all its prosperity to the 
patriotism of its nobility, and suffered, likewise, most of its miseries from their turbulence. 
Feudal power continued longer with them than the great proprietors in other countries 
had been able to retain it ; the ablest kings of Scotland never having attained to such 
strength as Henry VII. of England, and Louis XL of France, managed to exercise in 
breaking down the influence of the great lords. James I. laid the foundation of a 
central administration of justice, by forming a Committee of Parliament into a body 
called Lords of Session, empowered to try all civil causes, and meeting for that pur- 
pose, when he directed them, three times in a year, for forty days at a time. James 
rV". created a new Court, the Lords of Daily Council, to sit daily in Edinburgh ; 
and James V. gave the judicial body the form and jurisdiction which Scotland now 
possesses, by creating the College of Justice, whose senators were, and continue to be, 
the Lords of Council and Session. The form did not, of course, all at once carry the 
power along with it of keeping order in the land. Many of the great Lords had 
retinues superior to that of the king himself, and might was right to no small extent. 
The lesser barons were as big of heart in their narrower spheres ; and what order 
subsisted in their different neighbourhoods was the result of a " balance of power " 
existing among themselves. 

About the time when the busy parson of Kinkell was building the bridge over the 
Dee, endowed by the good Bishop Gavin Dunbar, a baronial exploit of a different 
character took place on the other side of the town of Aberdeen. On Sunday, 1st 
October, 1525, according to Kennedy's "Annals of Aberdeen," William Leslie, baron 
of Bakpjhain ; Alexander Seton of Meldrum ; and John Leslie of Wardes, three potent 
barons of the Garioch, in revenge of an injury supposed to have been done to them, 
entered the city of Aberdeen at night with their confederates and retainers, numbering 
eighty men, armed with spears and other weapons. They attacked the inhabitants with 
great fury, who instantly flew to arms and gave battle to the invaders. After a 
bloody conflict, in which eighty citizens, including several of the magistrates, were 


138 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

killed or wounded, the invaders were repulsed and driven out of the town. Upon 
complaint, the affair was investigated, and was finally terminated by the arbitration of 
certain bishops and nobles. The barons had to become bound under a penalty of £2000 
to keep the peace ; and the magistrates fortified the town better. The ports or gates 
were ordered to be repaired, and the vennels, back dykes, and waste places to be built 
up ; a watch to be kept by sixteen persons every night, and two sentinels in every 
steeple by day ; all able men to be supplied with culverins or cross-bows, hand-bows, 
and shooting pieces ; two additional gunners to be engaged for the artUlery ; and wapin- 
schaws to be held weekly. 

The Leslie raid into Aberdeen must have required some light, in order to avoid 
pitfalls of a kind awkward for such gentle invaders. It was not until 1538 that the 
magistrates issued ordinances for the removal of " middings " from the streets of the city. 

A furious state of faction warfare subsisted at that time between the Leslies and 
their powerful neighbour on the west side, Lord Forbes. In the local disturbances, the 
Castle of Balquhain was burnt by the Forbeses and their allies in 1526 ; and peace was 
re-established only by the intervention of Archibald, Earl of Angus, then Chancellor of 
the Kingdom, the Lords of Council, and nobles friends of both parties. The castle, 
now rapidly falling into ruin, was built in the year following. 

The national calamity of Flodden, 9 th September, 1513, crossed the family history 
of many a Scottish house with a black line. Among those who followed the rash 
monarch, James IV., to that fatal field, mention has been made of Agnes Glaster's son 
William Johnston of that Ilk and Caskieben, and Sir Wdliam Douglas of Glenbervie 
and Keinnay, and one of the Abercrombys. 

The shield-bearer of the preceding king, James III., was Alexander Leslie, the 
first laird of Wardes, who had been the King's familiar servant, possibly his com- 
panion-attendant in boyhood. He received from the King a charter of the royal lands 
in the Thanage of Kintore. He had enriched himself by marrying Isabella de Lauder 
of Balcomie, in Fife, and he founded a chaplainry in the Chapel of the Garioch, for 
behoof of her sold and his own. He was dead before Flodden, and though his second 
son, Walter, who was provided for by his mother's estate, was one of the Marshalls of 
the Eoyal Household, the heir, John Leslie of Wardes, seems not to have been employed 
about the Court. He got, in quittance of the King's debts to his father — who had been 
Keceiver — the Bailiary of the King's lands in the Garioch ; and, three years before 
Flodden, got the Regality lands themselves in excambion for Balcomie. He was the 
John Leslie of the raid upon Aberdeen, to which his sister's son, Alexander Seton 
of Meldrum, and William Leslie of Balquhain, were instigated by Provost Collison, an 
Aberdeen Coriolanus, Seton's stepfather then. Johu Leslie has the patriarchal record 
made of him, that he had five wives called after his name, by the last four of whom 
he had children. The son of his fifth wife, Annabella Chalmer of Balbithan, fell, as 
did the grandson of William Johnston of Caskieben, at Pinkie, 10th September, 1547. 

Life among the Barons on the Eve of the Reformation. 139 

The ancient line of Douglas, once represented in the Garioch by the last Lord anil 
Lady of the Eegality of the first dynasty, took a place among the lairds during the 
sixteenth century. The estate of Kemnay, by the death of the last Melville, the 
unfortunate Sheriff, passed to' his daughter's husband, Auchinleck, then of Glenbervie 
and Kemnay, the heiress of which family, two generations later, took both estates into 
the Douglas family. She was the wife of Sir William Douglas, second son of Archibald 
Bell-the-Cat, fifth Earl of Angus, and uncle of the Earl of Angus who had to interfere 
in the great feud of the Gordons and Fortieses. 

The first Douglas of Kemnay perished on the field of Flodden. His son, Sir 
Archibald, knighted by James V., but a minor at his father's death, was not at first 
resident at Kemnay. On 12th June, 1534, he took a notarial instrument as to the 
state of the house, when the contents were found to be a table in the hall, two 
beds in one chamber, with a little table before each bed, an old door lying in 
the chamber, and in the wine cellar one gantrees. He was in Kemnay in 1540, 
possibly resident, when he witnessed the appointment of Alexander Gareaucht 
to the depute clerkship of Kemnay, of which his brother, John, had been chaplain, 
under the rector of Kinkell, since 1502. Sir Archibald's wife was Agnes Kejth, 
daughter of William, third Earl Marischal, and his only daughter, Elizabeth, married 
Sir Alexander Ealconer of Halkerton. His second son, James Douglas, minister of 
Glenbervie after the Reformation, was the common ancestor of many families. The 
heir, Sir William, the most illustrious in rank of the lairds of Kemnay, became 
ninth Earl of Angus, after contesting the honours with King James VI. He, it is 
likely, lived in his earlier days at Kemnay, and the neighbouring lairds found them- 
selves drawn to his mansion by its female attractions. His eldest daughter, Margaret, 
married William Forbes, second laird of Monymusk, and was the mother of the first 
Forbes of Leslie. The second, Elizabeth, married Sir Alexander Gordon of Cluny, 
father of a Sir Alexander heard of afterwards. Sarah, the youngest wedded Eobert 
Strachan, younger of Thornton. Sir William Douglas was with Queen Mary in her 
progress through Scotland, when, in 1562, she visited Balquhain, and fought on her 
behalf in the battle of Corrichie. He died 1591, in his 59th year. 

On 30th January, 1527, Alexander Seton of Meldrum was murdered, in the house 
of the Provost of Aberdeen, Menzies of Pitfoddels, by the Master of Forbes and some 
retainers ; one of whom, Alexander Forbes, an agile ruffian nicknamed " the Spangare," 
was, by a sort of amateur justice, slaughtered a few days afterwards by John Leslie, 
younger of Balquhain, Alexander Leslie of Kincraigie, and John Keith, while attempt- 
ing the robbery of a tenant of the Bishop on a Sunday, the day of the week frequently 
signalised by these outrages. They obtained a pardon from the king, dated 9th 
February, 1527. The murderers of Seton took refuge in France; and the Forbes and 
Leslie feud threatened to break out again, because the Leslies, constant adherents of the 
Earls of Huntly in their quarrels with the clan Forbes, agreed with other barons of the 

140 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

North to obey George Earl of Huntly in his office of Lieutenant of the North, and to 
search for and deliver the culprits to the judge ordinary. 

The Master of Forbes got a remission under the great seal, 10th Oct., 1530 ; but in 
that same year his clan was engaged in a new outrage. Lord Forbes bad been wont to 
receive a tun of wine annually from the City of Aberdeen for protecting the Town's 
fishings on Dee and Don. His own followers were discovered to be the principal 
depredators, and the black mail present of wine was withheld, greatly to the disap- 
pointment of the recipients. On 30th July, 1530, Forbes of Pitsligo, Forbes of Brux, 
and others of the clan, among whom was one known by the descriptive name of 
Evil Willie, invaded the town. Being expected by the citizens, the Forbeses were, 
after some fatal bloodsheding, surrounded, and kept prisoners in the Grey Friars' place 
for a day, and released only with the loss of their horses. Seven years later on the 
occasion of King James V. visiting Aberdeen, the same turbulent Master of Forbes 
was accused of entering into some conspiracy against his Majesty's safety, for which 
he was tried and executed ; being, by way of favour, beheaded instead of hanged. 

Singularly enough, some time after the execution of the Master, his next younger 
brother, who became seventh Lord Forbes, was appointed by King James V. one of the 
gentlemen of his bed-chamber. One reason, perhaps, for both the death of John, 
Master of Forbes, and the favour shown to his brother was, that the family was at that 
time of sufficient influence to be a cause of jealousy to Lord Huntly, and to be worth 
being conciliated by the Monarch. The rent roll of William, seventh Lord Forbes, in 
1552, which is still extant, shows him to have possessed estates in Auchindoir, Tully- 
nessle and Forbes, Alford, Glenmuick, Tough, Cluny, Kincardine O'Neil, Midmar, Birse, 
Foveran, and King-Edward. He was married to a sister of the Countess Marischal, and 
their third daughter was the mother of Dr. Arthur Johnston, the poet. His fourth son, 
Kobert Forbes, was the last Prior of Monymusk. 

The first Leslie of Warthill, who was the second son of John Leslie, second baron 
of Wardes, and died in 1561, was, a few years before his death, knocked down in some 
quarrel at Lawrence Fair of Kayne, by the possessor of the other half of Warthill, 
Tullidaff, the representative probably of the Harlaw soldier. Leslie's father and brother 
were present, and supposing him to be slain, they pursued Tullidaff, and killed him on 
the Moor of Kayne, where Tullidaff's cairn still marks the spot. 

The vigour of baronial life in those days had a curious exemplification in the 
person of Janet Cruikshank, the wife of the first Warthill. On the occasion of the 
marriage of their sixteenth child — when their" children and grandchildren present 
numbered thirty-four — the old couple danced with the rest ; and after his death, the 
widow, then above sixty years of age, and mother of twenty-one children, married 

Half a century later, manners of a very rough order occasionally appeared. The 
eleventh Baron of Balquhain had to obtain letters of remission for a manslaughter. 

Parochial Matters in the Garioch. 141 

His father had three wives all living at the same time. The father and son, by their 
extravagance, brought ruin on the family represented by them. 

The Elphinstones of Glack seem to have belonged to the party of the Forbeses, and 
were sharers in the unquiet life of the period. In 1533, William Forbes of Corsindae 
presented himself within the larger chamber of the Palace of the Bishop of Aberdeen, 
as cautioner for William Elphinstone of Glack, and Symon Elphinstone, that, as 
satisfaction for a homicide, they, though " sobir in guidis," would pay ten merks to the 
wife and bairns of the slain man, and go to the three heid pilgrimages in Scotland and 
get masses said for his soul. 

A new Garioch family, the Setons of Mounie, was originated through the foreseeing 
alienation of Church lands on the eve of the Eeformation. In 1556, the Chancellor, 
Alexander Seton, had several of the holdings now comprised in the estate of Mounie 
in possession, and his brother William, the laird of Meldrum, got the rest. Upon 
resignation, in 1575, the whole were granted by the Bishop to William's second son, 
John Seton of Lumphart, thereafter John Seton of Mounie. His line is extinct, and 
the estate is now possessed by a descendant of his' half brother, James, the first Seton of 
Pitmedden, whose family are the only Setons now in Aberdeenshire. 

The Forbes rent-roll of 1552 exhibits a condition of covenanted tenancy long 
established in Aberdeenshire, which was attempted, only fifty years later, to be forced 
upon the adoption of the Western clan chiefs, to prepare the way for law and order 
taking the place of abused patriarchal rule. All the estates had evidently been rented 
at a much earlier period in holdings of the uniform size of one pleuch, or eight oxgang, 
which had come to be much subdivided by equal partition, so that, in 1552, the original 
pleuch was represented by mixtures of halves, fourths, and eights, all classed under the 
original title, with the rent distributed proportionally. A uniform grassum of eight 
merks was paid for entrance to one pleuch ; and the same sum was the money part of a 
pleuch rent whatever the value of the holding. The rest of the rent consisted, in the 
upland parishes, of live stock entirely, but in the low country contained malt, meal, 
oats, and peats. In Tough and Cluny, a pleuch yielded eight merks, two wedders, a 
dozen capons, one swyne, and two leitts of peats. In Foveran, a pleuch-rent was eight 
merks, one boll malt, one and a half of meal, two wedders, two bolls oats, a dozen 
capons, one-fourth of a custom cow, and two leitts of peats. Money must have been in 
some degree of circulation, as the laird could demand value for the articles of rent ; a 
custom cow being held as worth 40s., a swyne 20s., a wedder 10s., and a leitt of peats, 2s. 


Some scraps of local history, at Rayne and Insch, at that period, are of the same 
rude type as the incidents just noticed. In 1535, at a Bishop's Court held at Bayne, 
James Hill, in Fingess, was prosecuted for banning Dominus de Johnston and the vicar 
of Rayne, saying — " I pray God that the ayris of Caskebenne never prospere, for the 

142 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioeh. 

thinggis they do to me " ; and, addressing the vicar, who had been Caskieben's repre- 
sentative — " I pray to God, Schir Wieair, that ye never se the faice of God ". 

The next year, in Insch, where the priest and clerk both seem to have served by 
deputy, the deputies came to severe conclusions. The curate, William Anderson, 
claimed the intervention of the Dean of the Garioeh, Master Duncan Oudny, in his 
behalf against Andrew Gardyne, clerk-depute. The depute-priest had put the depute- 
clerk under some deserved, but unwelcome, discipline, and the culprit, " on the day of 
the holy Epiphany, said to him, in presence of the sacrament, and before the 
parishioners," — " And ye gar me gang furtht of the Kyrk ; gif I be cursit I sail do ane 
cursit deid, and gif you with ane quhynger " — threatening the same, because he com- 
manded the clerk to go out of the church. 

The earliest parochial transaction on record, respecting Inverurie, took place 23rd 
June, 1536, and was the election of a parish clerk apparently by universal suffrage, in 
which females as well as males voted. Similar elections, about the same time, in 
Daviot and Leochel are on record. It is very interesting to find, at that date, a con-, 
stituency entirely popular, which has been supposed to be a gift of modern Liberalism. 
The Inverurie election gives us a long list of names of the families then resident in the 
parish. On the day named there appeared, within the Church of Inverurie : — " Alexander 
Leslie of Kincragy ; Patrick TJrcan, David Urcan, Patrick Robertson, Umphray Henre, 
John Urcan, Ingram Mortimar, Thomas Henry, Bessie Mortimar, Alexander Davidson, 
Maryiota Seitoun, George Mortymer, Thomas Crag, Patrick Mill, Thomas Mill, David 
Mill, "William Bennet, James Leslie, John Mortimar, Alexander Creychtoun, John 
Swaipe, William Smyth, Thomas Cove, William Duncanson, John Brachra, John Wat, 
John Wilsoune, Alexander Dikkie, William Wat, Marjorie Dikkie, Andrew Makkie, Paul 
Donaldson, James Andrew, David Bobertson, Patrick Endeaucht, William Henry, 
William Urcane, George Grub, John Makkie, Bobert Johnsoune, John Wychtman, 
William Cowe, William Bobertson, William Barnet, William Philpe, John Andrew, 
James Banyeaucht, Bobert Fergus, Andrew Bonaldson, John Tailyoure, Walter Tail- 
youre, Cuthbert Jhonston, John Bobertson, Patrick Coupar, William Blackhall, John 
Jack, Bobert Andersoune, Antony Makkie, Alexander Bonaldson, Mallie Clark, Mallie 
Urcane, John Huchoun, Walter Banyeaucht, John Wobstar, John Johnstoun, Dominus 
James Kyd, vicar, Alexander Crommie, William Wobstar — so many parishioners of 
Inuerovre, and gave their votes to John Leslie, to enjoy and possess the office of Clerk 
of Inuervry, when it should vacate by the decease of John Blackhall, last parish clerk, 
or any other way : Upon which the said presentee took instruments : — Done within 
the said parish between the hours of six before noon and one after noon, or thereabout, 
in presence of John Patre, John Beche, Walter Tailyeoure, Bobert Fergus, and a 

On 24th June, 1536, John Leslie, son of Alexander Leslie of Kincragy, appeared 
personally at the high altar within the Parish Kirk of Inveroury, alleging himself to 

Parochial Matters in the Garioch. 1 43 

have been true and undoubted elected and presented parish clerk of Inuerovry ; and, 
lest that Church should remain destitute of service, offering himself as prepared to 
serve the vicar in altar and person, in all things pertaining to the office of parish clerk. 
He took instruments, at ten hours, a.m., in presence of Dom. James Kyd, vicar pensioner, 
Walter Banyeaucht, William Duncan, John Tailyeour, and a notary, and many others 
of the parishioners. 

The same day William Blakhall of that Ilk appeared personally, and protested that 
he was the depute of John Blakhall, parish clerk of Inuerovry ; and offered himself as 
being prepared to do service, protesting also that the election of John Leslie was void, 
because the parishioners had not been properly informed of the matter. 

The Inverurie election seems to have been a characteristic example of parish 
politics ; the attempt of one important party to supplant another in local position, — a 
bit of village life not seldom repeated since. Blakhall of that Ilk was at the head of 
society in the parish, and Kincraigie — a cadet of the house of Balquhain — was then rising 
into influence. 

Kincraigie was one of the slayers of the " Spangare ". Possibly he may have been 
the Abbey tenant of Badifurrow, as his grandson, " Bonnie Patrick," became afterwards 
owner and the first laird we know of that estate. John, the clerk elect, was Kincraigie's 
second son. He would be supported by the Balquhain faction, to which belonged the 
Mortimers — some of the Craigievar family, then resident in Auchorthies, of which they 
were part proprietors for a long period. Possibly others of the electors were Balquhain 
tenants, the same names appearing long after in the tenant-roll of that property. Not a 
few of the names recorded at the election will be recognised as still local names. Several 
of them appear in the proprietary of Inverurie immediately after 1600, e.g., Banyeaucht, 
Hucheon, Craig, Seton, and Johnston. Robert Fergus, in all likelihood, was ancestor 
of the Aberdeenshire families of Ferguson. It is possible that John Blakhall, the aged 
clerk, after the manner of the well-to-do clergy — with whom as a man of family he might 
associate — took his duties easily, and gave colourable occasion to the movement of Kin- 
craigie. Dominus James Kyd, vicar pensioner, was only the vicar's substitute, like the 
chaplain-curate-presbyter Scroggy, of the former century. 

The vicar of the time seems to have been Gilbert Cranstone (a friend of the parson 
of Kinkell), who it is likely seldom left the polished society of the Cathedral Close, 
where the vicar of 1500, Andrew Bisset, built an Inverurie Manse, near Caskieben's 
town house and the prebendary of Clatt's residence. Before 1543, Cranstone had died 
at some considerable age. In that year, his friend, Canon Galloway, mortified his 
property of Cryne's land, in Futtie, Aberdeen, for the spiritual weal of " Mary Queen 
of Scots, and of the souls of James IV. and James V., of Bishops Elphinstone and 
Dunbar, and of hers, and lastly, of a late venerable man, Gilbert Cranstone, oncevicar 
of Inveroury ". 

The minutes of election of a parish clerk at Daviot, in 1550, preserve the 

144 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

names of a number of the parishioners at that date. John Leslie, student in Aberdeen, 
was elected apparently colleague to Master Andrew Leslie, the clerk. The voters were 
Thomas Davidsone, Mallata (Mallie) Elphinston, Andrew Greige, John Keyth, William 
Mathers, William Philp, William Bruis, John Johnstone, John Davidsone, Andrew 
Criste, John Murdo, William Senzeour, William Styll, David Senzeour, William 
Duncane, William Udo, John Paterson, Agnes Criste, Bessie Philp, David Hyll, John 
Sowtar, John Andrew, John Gouper, Thomas Kempe, Andrew Duncane, Elizabeth 
Cromme, Lady of Glak, William Duncan, David Sowtar, Henry Maling, Janet Kyng, 
Alexander Johnston, Andrew Johnston, Mallata Criste, James Duncan, William Criste, 
Andrew Blyth, Cristian Litiljohne, Mariota Bannerman, Andrew Duncan, John Clark, 
William Endeaucht, George Andersone, Alexander Henersone, Thomas Murdo, Alex- 
ander Fudes, John Browne, Ebbota (Eppie ?) Criste, William Browistar, William 
Henersone, Alexander Strath, John Philp, Thomas Andersone, William Duncan, John 
Findlay, James Wobstar, John Patre, John Waulcar, Patrick Quhit, Andrew Harve, 
William Benet, Gilbert Styll, William Hyll, Andrew Maling, Adam Hyll, Janet Hyll, 
John Paterson, Alexander Cowe, James Chapman, Andrew Davidsone, Elizabeth 
Maling, John Nicholl, John Findlay, Alexander Davidsone, Thomas Davidsone, James 
Myll, Thomas Myll, Alexander Myll, William Myll, William Cutberd, David Eeche, 
Thomas Kemp, Katrine Leslie, Margaret Trumbill, Thomas Stevin, Alexander 
Gowane, William Lenyeour, John Cordinar. 


It is not an uncommon experience on the eve of great changes in human affairs, to 
behold arrangements being made which presuppose that no such changes are within the 
bounds of probability. A few years were to render the generous dedication of his 
property, by the parson of Kinkell, futile, by making masses no longer legal in his 
beloved Cathedral; and were even to throw down his own altar of St. Michael, and his 
predecessor Parson Lichton's aisle in the great Cathedral, along with the palace which 
Galloway had helped to plan and decorate for his friend, Bishop Dunbar. The pious 
mortifications were to be begged for, scrambled for, and possibly filched, by the barons 
— as ready for activity in that profitable way as in making raids upon the burgesses of 
a town, or waylaying an offending member of a rival family, to run him through with 
their whingers. 

The most powerful families about the seats of the great abbeys had, before then, 
begun to have lay members of their houses made Commendators, or lay abbots. The 
Abbeys of Deer and Lindores were, already, thus appropriated to scions of the families 
of Keith and Leslie, At the Reformation, some of these Commendators adopted the 
new doctrines ; and were thereby able to retain most of the revenues which they 
had previously administered. A temporal lordship of Lindores, vested in the person of a 
Leslie, son of a Commendator of the Abbey, had, in this way, a great mass of the Abbey 

The Eve of the Reformation. 145 

possessions appropriated to it, including the Inverurie lands, and, generally, the Garioch 
property of that Ahhey ; and the new Lord Lindores quickly spent it, as it was 
prophesied that the then Earl Marischal would do with the Buchan estates of the 
Abbey of Deer. 

Only sixteen years after the parson of Kinkell had provided the mass for Gilbert 
Cranstone, and but six years after the good man's own eyes were closed upon his many 
works, the Bishop, William Gordon (brother of the Earl of Huntly), in 1559, consigned 
part of the plate of the Cathedral to the canons, for concealment during the storm that 
he saw impending ; and, subsequently, he handed over his Palace of Fetternear, and 
other Garioch estates, to William Leslie, the ninth baron of Balquhain, by a grant which 
received royal confirmation in 1602. 

The baron of Balquhain was not among those who played for the winning game. 
He earned his gift of Fetternear honourably ; by protecting the Cathedral of Aberdeen 
from total destruction, when a body of reformers by fire and sword from the south 
country invaded Aberdeen. His duty as Sheriff-depute, under Lord Huntly, gave him 
that task to perform. 

The Diocese of Aberdeen seems to have been in a bad condition when the Beforma- 
tion overtook it; and the clergy, who were about the bishop, themselves saw the 
necessity of trying to avert public indignation, by spontaneously inaugurating a 
change for the better. In 1547, a preaching canon was appointed to lecture on 
theology, in the Cathedral, twice a week, and to perambulate the country, preaching in 
the churches ; which evidently had been in a great measure silent in that respect, or 
had only some service like the quarterly preachings enjoyed by the parishes belonging 
to the Priory of Monymusk. In 1558, the Dean and Chapter addressed to the Bishop 
a " counsall," the following extract from which too well sets forth the desertion of 
duties, and the vicious lives, chargeable upon the priesthood : — " Imprimis that my 
Lord of Aberdene cause the kirkmen within his Lordschipe's diocie to reforme thaim- 
selfs in all thair sclanderous maner of Lyving, and to remove thair oppin concubinis, 
als well greit as small. . . . Item for preching to be maid within the hail Diocie. 
That there be sent letters monitorie upon the haill personis, abbotes and prioris to cause 
preching to be maid within their kirkis, betwixt this (5th January, 1558) and Fastern's 
Evin next, at least once in ilk paroch kirk, and an uthir tyme between that and Pasche, 
with continuation ; and failzeing thereof that my Lord cause send ane prechor to ever 
ilk kirk that is nocht prechit in Lentron thaireaftir." 

Little margin of time, however, was left wherein to avert the approaching destruc- 
tion, by this late amendment. In 1560, the riots, which dishonoured the Eeformation, 
reached Aberdeen ; and Huntly, the Queen's lieutenant in the north, had to come with 
his Sheriff, Balquhain, to the protection of the Cathedral and of the Bishop, who, by 
their aid, was able to remain in his diocese, when the other Bishops in Scotland had 
to seek safety in flight. 


146 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

The reformed doctrines received the sanction of Parliament in 1560, but the 
Bishop of Aberdeen retained his possessions for six years longer. 


The fortunate, but deserving, Laird of Balquhain, William Leslie, son of John 
Leslie, eighth baron, and of his wife, the daughter of Patrick Leslie of Ardoyne, succeeded 
his father in 1561. The next year he had the honour of entertaining the young 
widowed Queen Mary, when, having returned home from Prance, she was making her 
first progress through her kingdom. 

At the Castle of Balquhain she passed the night of the 9th September, 1562. It 
is said that, during the Queen's visit, the Pari of Huntly proposed to Balquhain that he 
should be his accomplice in putting to death her natural brother, Lord James Stewart, 
who had been recently created by her Pari of Moray — a dignity which Huntly had 
himself possessed. During the Queen's absence in Prance, Huntly had been deprived 
of several high offices ; some of which, on his pleading his cause to her, she restored to 
him. He, however, regarded the new Pari of Moray as his enemy, and plotted his 
death. Balquhain, who had, on other occasions, been able to calm the temper of the 
great chief, whose ally he was, managed to turn him from his violent purpose. 

Huntly, however, in consequence of his being the head of the Catholic party, was, 
at that time, made much of by the Queen's French relatives, who perhaps believed he 
could restore the old religion, and they held forth, as a bait to him, the chance of the 
Queen taking his handsome son, Sir John Gordon of Pindlater, for her second husband. 
At Balquhain, Huntly had pressed Her Majesty too warmly to visit him in his Castle 
of Strathbogy, so that she was offended, and refused his hospitality, passing on to 
Inverness. He suspected, from her conduct, that other causes were at work than his 
ill-timed importunity, and that his enemies were too strong for him at court. Huntly 
permitted himself to be frightened into overt acts of rebellion and took up arms. The. 
result was the battle of Corrichie, fought 24th October the same year, and his own 
death, and the execution of his son, Sir John Gordon, a few days afterwards, at 
Aberdeen. Huntly himself, who was a corpulent man, was smothered in the crowd 
when he was taken prisoner. The tragical downfall of the Gordons, by that rash 
treason, gave origin to the ballad of " The Battle of Corrichie ". 

An incident related of Huntly's rebellion belongs to the superstitious habits of the 
period In his march southward he encamped near Inverurie, on the Hill of Crichie ; 
but being warned, by a warlock, to beware of Corrichie, he hastily departed, thinking 
he was leaving the place of the fatal name behind him, and halted not until he reached 
the spot to which the words of doom really bore reference — the How of Corrichie, on 
the Hill of Fare. 

Queen Mary's brief lodging place on her passage through the regality of the 
Garioch, the Castle of Balquhain — erected soon after 1525 — was, when she visited it, a 

Queen Mary's Visit to Balquhain. 147 

tall square tower, with outlying buildings, placed picturesquely on a rocky knoll, which 
overhangs the Natrick, — a mile, or more, eastward from the old rude Balquhain fastness 
on the summit of Benachie. During the last few years, large portions of this once 
imposing stronghold have been tumbling down, taking away angle after angle of the 
interesting pile. " The Queen's Tree " at Pitcaple is a tradition of her visit. 

During her stay at the Leslies' castle, Queen Mary attended mass at the Chapel of 
the Blessed Virgin of the Garioch. As the Reformation was then two years old, her 
presence was, it is likely, among the last occasions on which its six stately chaplains 
assembled. The royal visit formed a fitting close to the two centuries of aristocratic 
history belonging to the little tabernacle — erected by the heroic Christian Bruce, first 
Lady of the Garioch, on the high place of her regality. Its services had always been 
associated with the memory of the great ; and of those who were ambitious of mixing 
among the great, though it were but in prayers for the weal of their disembodied 

No stone of the ancient Chapel is now discernible. What became of its revenues 
when it was silenced, we can conjecture from knowing the destination of most 
of the ecclesiastical endowments ; which were carefully diverted from the possibility of 
ecclesiastical abuse any more, and found a safe asylum, from even religious uses, in the 
pockets of the reforming nobles. A document among the Bourtie papers records an 
appointment to one of the chaplainries, after the ditties of such office had become 
impossible. On 28th March, 1600, David, Bishop of Aberdeen, gave "collation to Mr. 
George Seton in the Chaplainry of Collihill, of which the Earl of Mar was undoubted 
patron ". James Seton was laird of Bourtie at the time, and accountable for the ten 
libs rent payable to the Colliehill chaplain, who was his own brother, titular Chancellor 
of the See of Aberdeen at that time. 

The last legal form taken by the ancient institution appears in the following extract 
from a proof of the Pittodrie rental in 1797 : — 

" As also the Bight of Patronage and Superiority of the Hospital of Balhaggarty, 
which of old was the Patronage of the Chaplainries of the Chappel of Garioch, Wartle, 
Colliehill, Pitgavenny, and Kh'kinglass, now erected into the said Hospital called the 
Hospital of Balhaggarty, by virtue of an Act of the General Assembly of the Church of 
Scotland, and conformable to an Act of Parliament holden at Edinburgh the seven- 
teenth day of November, in sixteen hundred and fifty-one." 

In 1599, the Parish Church of the united parishes of Logydurno and Fetternear 
was erected where the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin of the Garioch had been, and the 
new parish took the inherited name of Chapel of Garioch. An entrance gateway on one 
of the walls of the burying-ground, containing a stone with the date 162(3, was, until 
lately, a funeral porch, through which all the dead were borne into the sacred place, 
and under the broad roof of which the bier had, in old times, been set down during the 
solemn burial service. 

148 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Gar loch. 


The fall of the Bishop of Aberdeen was broken by several years of respite from 
deprivation of his lands and position, and he had time to execute a number of charters 
by way of feu, disposing of parts of the property of the See. These documents, always 
subscribed by some members of the Chapter, preserve the names of incumbents of 
several of the Garioch parishes, last lights of the disappearing Church. 

A charter of Glastermuir, dated 1549, exhibits Alexander Galloway at Kinkell ; 
and Alexander Seton, Chancellor ; Patrick Myreton, Archdeacon ; and John Stewart, 
Treasurer — which three offices carried with them generally, if not ex officio, the charge of 
the parishes of Bethelnie, Bayne, and Daviot, respectively. James Wawan was the 
parson and prebendary of Oyne. Bobert Elphinstone, then sub-prior of Monymusk, had 
been Archdeaeon in 1499 and Treasurer in 1512. A charter by the Bishop of Moray, 
in 1545, is witnessed by Henry Lumsden, rector of Kinkell — a record which needs some 
explanation in the face of Alexander -Galloway's signature in the same capacity, in 
1549. Henry Lumsden, however, appears in the Chapter of Aberdeen, in 1563, as at 
Kinkell, after Galloway's death, signing a charter of Torreleith, along with the same 
Chancellor, and Patrick Myreton, then Treasurer, and John Leslie at Oyne. In 1570, a 
charter of the Lochlands bears the subscription of Thomas Lumsden at Kinkell, Andrew 
Leslie at Oyne, and James Johnston at Monymusk. The Chancellor is called Gulielmus 
Seton ; but in a charter, dated the following year, of land in Banchory-Devenick, 
Alexander Seton occurs again, and also Patrick Myreton, Treasurer, and Thomas 
Lumsden, prebendary of Kinkell. In another deed the rectory of Fetternear appears, 
in 1504, conferred on James Chamer. Andrew Leslie was its last priest, in 1569. 

Alexander Seton, vicar of Bethelnie, the Chancellor, was the second son of 
Alexander Seton of Meldrum by his first wife, a daughter of Patrick Gordon of Haddo. 
He was uncle of James Seton, the first Seton of Pitmedden and of Bourtie, and of 
George, his brother, laird of Barra in 1598, and Chancellor himself afterwards, and 
chaplain of Collyhill. 

The last priest of Kemnay whom we know was James Garioch, in 1540. The 
subordinate chapels of Kinkell fared ill for a long time after the Beformation. 

John Leslie, parson of Oyne, was a prominent individual in the Scottish politics of 
the time. He belonged to the family of Leslie of Cults, descendants of the Harlaw baron 
of Balquhain, Sir Andrew Leslie, by the Fair Maid of Strathdon, one of that mid 
baron's enforced lemans, and was himself the son of a priest, as Bishop Elphinstone 
was — a connection which did not then infer the entire stain of bastardy. Mani- 
festing at the University of Aberdeen extraordinary talents, he was, in 1544, presented 
by the Magistrates of the City to the office of organist and teacher of the Song School, 
with a salary of £20 Scots, when but eighteen years of age. In 1553, he was Canonist, 
or teacher of canon law, in King's College, but pursued his legal studies afterwards in 

The last of the Priests. 149 

Poictiers, Toulouse, and Paris, and taught both canon and civil law, and took the 
degree of Doctor Utriusque Juris. Dr. Leslie took holy orders in 1558, and was appointed 
official, or ecclesiastical judge, in the diocese of Aberdeen, and next year became pre- 
bendary of Oyne, the teinds of which he attempted long after to obtain against the 
possession of John Abercromby, the incumbent. In 1559, dread of the approach of 
the Eeformation led the Bishop to seek means of securing the valuable utensils and 
furniture of the Cathedral, and the articles were distributed in charge among the 
canons. On 7th July, there was confided " to Mr. John Leslie, parson of Oyne, the 
image of the Virgin Mary, 114 ounces, in silver". One of the witnesses to the 
inventory was Duncan Forbes of Monymusk, whose brother James, of Corsindae, 
fifteen years before, had waylaid and seized the whole of those Cathedral treasures, while 
on then - way to a place of safety from an apprehended incursion of the English. In the 
preliminary discussions of the questions of the Eeformation, which took place by order 
of the Lords of the Congregation. John Leslie was summoned, along with Principal 
Anderson, late vicar of Kinkell, Patrick Myreton, and James Strachan, to hold argument 
with John Knox and others, in which the rough-tongued reformer stigmatised Leslie as 
"a priest's giett". "When both parties in the country thought it necessary that Queen Mary 
should be solicited to return to Scotland, and Lord James Stewart, her natural brother, was 
deputed by the Eeformers to go to her, the Catholic Lords sent Dr. Leslie on their side, 
and he managed to get her ear first. He returned with her in 1561, and continued her 
close and trusted friend until her death. He joined her on her escape from Loch 
Leven Castle ; was one of her commissioners to appeal to Elizabeth against her inimical 
subjects ; and afterwards her messenger to the English Queen to remonstrate against the 
illegal detention of Mary in captivity. He planned the unsuccessful enterprise of the 
Duke of Norfolk, and for his complicity therein was seized and sent to the Tower of 
London, and afterwards banished from England. From his retirement in the Nether- 
lands he sent to his royal mistress a treatise on afflictions and tranquillity of mind, 
composed for her comfort. The tidings of her death so horrified him that he retired 
into a monastery near Brussels, where he died, in 1596, at the age of seventy. 

Dr. Leslie was appointed Bishop of Eoss in 1565, and was also a judge in the 
Court of Session. In 1566, by means of a royal commission obtained by him, the laws 
of Scotland were, for the first time, collected into a volume. They were printed that 
year in Saxon type, from which they got the name of the Black Acts of Parliament. 

Several of the Garioch priests, as well as John Leslie, had held office in Bishop 
Elphinstone's University. Andrew Liell, parson of Daviot, was rector, 1498 and 1501 ; 
in 1506, Alexander Cullan, prebendary of Oyne ; Alexander Galloway, parson of 
Kinkell, in 1516, 1530, and 1549— both his vicar of Kinkell, Alexander Anderson, and 
himself holding the rank of Sub-Principal occasionally. The rector of 1563 was the 
vicar of Bethelnie, Alexander Seton, Chancellor of Aberdeen. 

Chapter V. 

Royal Charter of Novodamus to Inverurie — Baillies and Town Clerk— Prices — Manners among 
the Lairds— Demon craft. The Beginning of the Reformed Kirk— Garioch Parishes — 
Substitutes for Ministers — New Parish of Chapel — Papists. King James's Kirks— Lordship of 
Lindores— History of Stipends — First Ministers of Inverurie, Leslie, Prcmnay, and Bourtie— 
Mr. James Mill — Shakespeare in Aberdeen — Bishops. Education — Foundation of Mariichal 
College — Dr. Arthur Johnston — Whar Gadie rins. The School of Inverurie under Kino 
James's Episcopacy — Public Schools — The Gramer Scoill of Inverurie — Masters — Mr. 
Alexander Mitchell. Urbs In Rure — Burgh Families. Ardtannies. The Mill of 
Inverurie — Walter Innes — Contemporary Matters — Contract of Multures. The Twall- 
pairt Lands — The Haughs — The Landward Parish. 


J FN Inverurie, the date of the Eeformation is locally remarkable as that of the 
resuscitation of the municipal life of the Burgh, when Queen Mary granted it a 
new charter, in 1558 — which document narrated that its ancient evidents had 
been lost through pestilence, troubles, and negligent keeping, but that it had been a 
Burgh beyond the memory of man. The Novodanius charter then records and confirms 
the privileges which had been enjoyed from time immemorial by the Burgh. 

These included the right to erect a Market Cross, and hold two weekly markets, 
on Wednesday and Saturday, and two annual fairs, beginning on the days of the 
Nativity of the Virgin and of St. Apollinaris, and each continuing eight days. The 
Burgh, which possessed the right to elect a provost and baillies did not, for at least a 
century after the new charter was granted, elect a higher magistrate than baillies ; of 
whom there were generally two, and sometimes three. 

Of the transactions of the renovated Burgh after the Novodamus charter had 
rehabilitated it in municipal rank, only a single fragmentary scrap older than 1600 
remains. It is a torn portion of the Michaelmas election of magistrates in a.d. 1580; 
and is interesting as illustrative of the State policy of the time, and the transitional 
condition of the affairs of the municipality : — 

" The said day the haill burgesses and . . . burgh, after long and discreet 
reasoning ... off the necessities and weil of the toune . . . elected William 

Royal Charier of Nonodamus to Inverurie. 151 

Leslie and William M'Kie . . . Aue year to minister justice equalie . . . elyk 
without respect of persones or parties . . . maintain and defend the religion now 
stab . . . realme, &c. 

" The said day John Johnston, John Robertson . . . and William Thomson 
are elected and chosen he com ... off the haill burgers and communitie to be 
demesters barleymen, as thai are called to . . . geir and biggings, march landis 
even debaitis ... of controversys among the nybours for one yeir . . ." 

The town clerk of that date, and the first of whom manuscript record exists, was 
Mr. Alexander Davidson, notary public. 

The will of David Chalmers of Balbithan, who died in 1580, affords an interesting 
record of prices obtaining at the time. His inventory contained — 24 drawin oxin, 
worth each 8 lib. ; 12 ky, four thereof with ther kair at their feitt, 8 merks each ; 3 
stirkis, ane yeir auld, 30sh. each ; 8 quoyis, twa yeir auldis, 8 lib. ; 3 hors, 8 lib. each ; 
3 meirs, twa with foilis at ther feit, 6 lib. 6sh. 8d. each ; 6 score auld scheepe, 20sh. 
each ; 50 lambs, lOsh. each ; 18 scoir bollis aittis and 26 score in the barnes and barne- 
yeardis, each boll with the fodder, 26sh. 8d. ; 60 bolls beir, and 5 score 8 bolls in barn 
and yard, 40sh. with fodder ; 12 bolls quheit, and 19 bolls 2 peccis in barn and yards, 
3 libs, with fodder. 

A sudden transformation of the rude manners of the people was not to be looked 
for from a Reformation which had religious considerations only in part, and considera- 
tions of plunder, in a very large measure, as its moving causes. The moral reformation 
had yet to come ; and the rough rule of force continued as before in the case of clashing 

Notice has been already taken of the action raised, in 1573, by Lord Forbes, in the 
Court of Session against the Sheriff of Aberdeenshire himself, the Earl of Huntly, for 
oppression of the kinsmen and vassals of the house of Forbes. Among the Forbes's 
adherents enumerated was George Johnston of that Ilk, and three of his near relatives. 
That laird of Caskieben was son of William Johnston, younger of that Ilk, who, in his 
father's lifetime, was killed in the battle of Pinkie, in September, 1547. He was 
himself Lord Forbes's son-in-law, and father of the well-known Dr. Arthur Johnston ; 
and of twelve more children, providing for whom much impaired the family estates. 

In 1584, the laird of Owchorsk (Aquhorsk) was slain, in Aberdeen, by another laird, 
John Chalmers of Balbithan ; and six years later, in 1590, Chalmers's cousin, Alexander 
Seton, the young laird of Meldrum, was killed by his neighbour, William Kyng of 
Barraucht, and his brother, David Kyng, "and their complessis ". In February, 1587, 
Balquhain, with fifty horsemen, made a bragging raid upon the town of Aberdeen. 
Next month, his son with twenty followers, made another raid upon the house of 
Achnacant, in Buchan, in which murder was done. In 1595, William Kyng was at 
" deidlie feid " with James Cheyne of Straloch. Their two estates are now the 
property of one and the same owner. 

152 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

So late as 1606, the heads of the principal families of Forbes came under a bond, 
on the part of the whole clan, to deliver up a brother of Forbes of Corsindae, and some 
others, for murdering a servant of Irvine of Artarnford, and for the attempted murder of 
some of the Irvine race, to the sentence of Alexander Irvine of Drum, their chief. The 
penalty inflicted was 2000 pounds for the murdered man, and for the wounding of two 
other individuals, 1000 pounds to each of them. 

Belief in demoncraft was, in 1594, so prevalent that ministers and elders were 
directed by the Church to make all efforts to put an end to the superstitious practice of 
leaving a " good man's croft " uncultivated on a farm or estate. It was a piece of 
ground left to the occupation of supernatural beings, in honour of whom the tillers of 
the soil threw stones upon it with some ceremonies. Inverurie, Monkegy, and Forgue 
all furnish examples of the practice. The order of the Church must have got scant 
attention, for it had to be repeated a century afterwards. 

In 1596, four pirates were hanged at the pier of Aberdeen ; and next year several 
women were burned as witches. In that same year — 1597 — a witch, Isobel Straquhan, 
alias Skudder, was too near Inverurie for its peace of mind. When she had brought to 
trial, " The haill browsteris, smythis, and millwartis within the parochin of Fintrey were 
summonitt to testify against her ". Part of the evidence was that " she com to 
the Mill of Kaskieben, and askit meill from the millwart, and he refusit to girf her 
ony ; and for rewenge thereof, she passed to the niillquheillis, and with her witchcraft 
causit both of the quheillis of the mill to brak ". 

The continuous records of both the parish and burgh of Inverurie begins three 
years after Skudder thus "reistit," as the phrase went in minor witchcraft, the wheels 
of what is now the Mill of Keith-hall. 


Two years after the Novodainus charter was granted to Inverurie, the Scottish 
Parliament sanctioned the reformed doctrines ; and the General Assembly of the 
Eeformed Church met. The celebration of mass, in 1562, in the Chapel of the Garioch, 
when Queen Mary was present, is but one of several proofs that the Reformation spread 
slowly in Aberdeenshire. Indeed, it seems to have established itself as tardily as the 
Church of the Revolution Settlement, 130 years afterwards, gained ground in the 
country — when twenty years elapsed ere all the pxilpits of the Synod of Aberdeen could 
be filled with Presbyterian ministers. In 1570, only about twenty ministers were 
obtainable for all Aberdeenshire. There were but few in the Garioch. One only, Mr. 
John Abercromby, minister of Owne (Oyne) and Premnay, had the vicarage and 
parsonage income — an exceptional case, due, perhaps, to the circumstance that he was 
himself laird of Westhall, his father being proprietor also of a good deal more of the 
parish. Generally the ministers got but a third or other part of their benefices — from 
40 to 100 lbs. Scots. 

The ecclesiastical picture presented is the gradual clearing up of a chaos which 

The Beginning of the Reformed Kirk. 153 

resulted from the sudden vacating of all the parishes, and, along with the disappearance 
of the priests, the vanishing also of all the ecclesiastical revenues ; one-third only of 
which had gone to the Crown for the purpose of providing ministers to the parishes, 
while the rest went in various ways, from the Abbeys and Cathedral Chapters into the 
hands of lay proprietors. Up to 1600 there was constantly going on a temporary 
arranging of parishes in convenient groups, under the care of ecclesiastical officials 
holding the various positions of readers, exhorters, and ministers, who at first resided in 
the larger towns and only visited their districts to do duty. 

Stephen Masoun, minister, was for a little while, from 1567, pluralist, in this way, 
of Insch, Logiedurno, and Culsalmond ; and afterwards, for over twenty years, had 
Bethelnie, with Bourtie and Bayne at one period, and Fyvie and Tarves at another, 
attached to it. 

Kemnay, one of the six chaplainries of Kinlcell — which were all deprived of their 
stipends, Kinkell alone being recognised — shared with Echt and Dalmoak (Drumoak) 
the services of one minister. 

It is in this way that Inverurie first presents itself after the Beforrnation, the 
central parish, in 1573, of a group comprising Daviot,,Monkegy, Kinkell, and Kintore, 
under the charge of a great notable of the time, Mr. George Paterson — whose stipend 
was 200 lb., or £16 3s. 4d. sterling ; out of which he paid the reader at Daviot. 

Paterson appears, in the end of the century, commissioned by successive Assemblies 
to discharge a series of Episcopal-looking functions ; overseeing the kirks in the Garioch, 
the Laigh of Mar, and the Mearns north of the Mount, on the waterside ; arranging 
the bounds of Presbyteries as they were gradually constituted; and, in 1592, appointed 
to watch over the practices of the opponents of the Beformed Beligion. Three vicars, 
Alexander Mackie at Inverurie, Walter Innes at Leslie, and Thomas Mit hell at 
Bourtie, all deposed about that time, were probably of those who gave occasion for the 
watch thus directed to be kept. 

The patronage of the kirks was assumed by the Sovereign, along with the thirds 
of the tithes ; which were made a common fund for payment of the ministers ; and 
King James appears presenting universally to the benefices. 

The Presbyteries, as at first arranged by the Assembly in 1581, included a 
Presbytery of Inverurie, which got the name of Garioch only in the beginning of the 
following century ; that of Alford bearing the name of Mar for a time. The succession 
of ministers occupying the parishes in the Garioch, when the group finally dissolved 
into its individual elements, contained not a few who are favourably recorded for their 
status among educated men ; — if not so eminent as their predecessors, John Barbour, 
Archdeacon of Aberdeen and parson of Bayne, and Alexander Galloway, Collyhill 
chaplain and parson of Kinkell and of its six kirks. The universities seem to have at 
that time retained their most accomplished students, after their course of study was 
completed, to act as instructors, under the title of Begents. The Aberdeen colleges 


154- Inverurie and the Earldom, of the Gfarioch. 

furnished not a few ministers to the Garioch from that class of the alumni ; one of whom, 
Eobert Burnet, was promoted to Oyne, in 1596. A number of examples occurred 
during the next century. 

Logiedurno had a minister to itself first in 1588, when Mr. William Strathauchin 
served the cure for three years. Alexander Paterson, transported from Insch upon pre- 
sentation by the King, served from 1592 to 1620. His son became Bishop of Boss. 

Bourtie was long in emerging from the system of grouped parishes. From 1578 
it was in charge of James Johnston, minister of the parish of Monymusk ; but it had a 
minister of its own in 1595, in the person of William Barclay, who went to tnsch in 
1596. Stephen Masoun is said to have served Meldrum and it for some time after ; 
but in 1611 Gilbert Keith became minister of Bourtie alone, and he lived through great 
part of both Episcopacies, as well as the intervening Covenant period. 

Culsalmond, after a course of Readers from 1567 to 1595, had apparently its first 
minister, Thomas Spens, before 1607. 

Daviot, after a period of Beader incumbency, was to have had Patrick Myreton 
(probably its former parson) for its first minister in 1573 ; but he did not accept the 
king's presentation, which was given, the same year, to the minister of Belhelvie, George 
Paterson, the individual who played the part of a small bishop for more than twenty 
years in the Garioch. 

Insch, along with Logiedurno and Culsalmond, was Stephen Masoun's first charge 
in 1567. Before 1585, Walter Robertson, transported from Clatt, was minister of Insch, 
with Culsalmond, Kinkell, and Kintore added ; and leaving it for Oyne, gave place to 
Alexander Paterson, minister of Logie-Durno, in 1592. William Barclay, leaving 
Bourty, served the cure of Insch from 1596 till 1603, obtaining his presentation in 1599. 
The Records of the Family of Leslie name a vicar of Insch — James Spence — son of 
Spence of Boddam, the husband of a Leslie of New Leslie, another of which family 
married the minister of Inverurie, about 1603. 

Inverurie appearing first under the charge of the pluralist, Mr. George Paterson, 
became the parish of Alexander Mackie ; whose deposition was followed by the king 
presenting Mr. James Mill, in 1600, to Inverurie and Monkegy. 

Kemnay, a subordinate kirk of Kinkell, was left unprovided for at the Reformation ; 
John Walcar, the minister of Kinkell, served it for two years, before 1602, for nothing. 

Kinkell, the ancient Templar Church, head of six others, had only a Reader up to 
1580 ; and from 1586 to 1597 shared the services of its minister, William Johnston, 
with the adjoining parish of Kintore. John Walcar was there in 1599. He was formally 
presented in 1613 to the benefice of Kinkell, comprehending the kirks of Kinkell, 
Skene, Drumblait, Kemnay, Dyce, Kintore, and Kinellar. 

Kintore, part of the Presbytery of Aberdeen in the Reformed Church, until it was 
united to Garioch in 1702, had William Forbes as its first minister ; and lost him because, 
like Kemnay, it furnished no stipend to a minister. He went, without authority of the 

The Beginning of the Reformation. 155 

Church courts, to Leslie, in 1600, where he was offered a living. His successor at Kin- 
tore was Archibald Eait, who, however, got a stipend of fifty rnerks (£2 15s. 6fd). 

Leslie, after being served by Headers from 1574 to 1591, was occupied in 1600 by 
William Forbes, the starved-out minister of Kintore, who had a presentation from the 
king in 1602. 

Bethelnie (Meldrum), the centre of successive groups — first Bethelnie, Bourtie, and 
Rayne, in 1574 ; next, in 1585, Bethelnie, Fyvie, and Tarves ; and later Bethelnie and 
Bourtie, and unconnected after 1601 — was served by Stephen Masoun, previously of 
Insch, from 1574 to 1612, when he removed to Slains, in Buchan. 

Monymusk, the first seat of Christianity in the Garioch, was presented to, soon 
after the Reformation, by the King. James Murray was to have it and Kynnairny 
(Kinnernie), together with 100 merks of stipend. He served from 1567, and was presented 
in 1573 ; but apparently never collated. He continued as Reader until 1589. John 
Forbes, son to Duncan Forbes, laird of Monymusk, also had a presentation in 1572, 
.but' was not admitted. The first settled minister was James Johnston, the vicar of 
1570, a cadet, it is believed of Caskieben. In 1574 he had Cluny also in charge, with a 
pension of 1 33 libs. 6s. 8d, or £ 1 1 2s. 3|d. In 1576, he had Monymusk only, and Bourtie 
was added, 1578 to 1593, after which year Fetternear was substituted. He died 19th 
March, 1615, aged 76. In 1607, he disponed to his son one third part of Aquhorthies. 

Oyne was the only parish in the Garioch able to retain its stipend at the Reformation. 
The incumbent, in 1570, was the laird of Westhall in that parish, John Abercromby, 
son of Abercromby of Pitmedden. He had Premnay also in charge ; and, in 1574, Logie- 
durno likewise — he died before 1586. Walter Richardson was, in that year, presented 
by the king, — a presentation, in April of that same year, to the vicarage and parsonage 
of Rayne, " callit the arch-deaconry of Aberdeen," not having been carried out. The 
well-known bishop of Ross, John Leslie, who had previously been minister of Oyne, 
attempted to obtain possession again; but Richardson continued until 1595, when he 
was translated to Gartly. Robert Burnet, Regent in King's College, was promoted to 
Oyne, in 1596. He was permanent moderator of the Presbytery, under the first Episco- 
pacy ; having been appointed by the Assembly in December, 1606, the Privy Council 
ordering the Presbytery to receive him. 

Premnay, carried on by Readers from 1567 to 1599, had Robert Burnet as its 
minister in 1601 ; and Robert Irving in 1607-8. 

Rayne was served by Readers from 1567 to 1580. The first minister, Walter Aber- 
cromby, was presented, in 1585, by James VI., having Kennethmont and Christ's Kirk 
also in charge. Next year he was presented to the vicarage and parsonage of Oyne. 

Among the notabilities of the Reformed Kirk was one of the Garioch Johnstons — 
John Johnston, of the Crimond family. He was, at the request of Andrew Melville, 
appointed his colleague in the Theological department of the University of St. Andrews, 
when it came under Protestant rule. 

156 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

The parish, church of Logiedurno was disused in 1599, and a church for the 
united parishes of Logiedurno and Fetternear (which was still a separate parish in 
1586), erected where the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Garioch had stood, 
the comhined parish inheriting from that old foundation the name of Chapel of Garioch. 
As has heen noticed, the Pittodrie family, by an Act of Parliament long after the 
Eeformation, got the patronage of five, or four, of the Chaplanaries of the ancient 
Chapel conferred upon them ; and these were erected by the General Assembly 
into an Hospital of Balhaggarty. It was this Hospital which, at some later period, 
was described as being contained in " two chambers and one mid-room, upholding 
four poor men who ought to have each one peck of meal and half a peck of malt weekly, 
to wear livery gowns, and go to church on Sundays before the family ". 

In the Garioch, the Romanists, when Mr. George Paterson was appointed in 
1592, had in 1588 been too much for his predecessor in the superintendence, Mr. Peter 
Blackburn. Some Jesuit priests — James Gordon, Edmond Hay, Alexander MacWhirrie, 
John Scott, Alexander Meldrum, Arthure Pantone — residing chiefly in Moray and Strath- 
bogy, were complained of by the General Assembly as seducing everywhere in Buchan, 
Garioch, Aberdeen, and Mar. In the Garioch, the Laird of Leslie, and Andrew Leslie 
of the Peill, and young Glenbervie (and Kemnay) were named. They had public mass 
celebrated in the laird of Leslie's chapel, with " twa idols above the altar," and Mr. Peter 
Blackburn was compelled to desist from visitation by king's letters purchased by the 
Bishop of Aberdeen. Young Douglass did not continue laird of Kemnay and Glen- 
bervie, which went to his brother, Sir Robert, he himself becoming tenth Earl of Angus 
upon his father's death, in 1591. He had become a Roman Catholic, and, in 1592, 
joined Lords Erroll and Huntly in a plot to restore the old religion, by the help of the 
King of Spain. He spent the latter years of his life a devotee in Paris, where he built 
the church of St. Germain de Prez, where there is a monument to his memory. 

The nominal bishops superadded to John Knox's Presbyterian form of church, 
were removed in 1592, to re-appear from 1606 to 1638, and, after another aboli- 
tion lasting until 1662, were restored for nearly thirty years before the final establish- 
ment of the present form of Church government in Scotland. 

Scottish history, during the seventeenth century, was to be almost entirely 
ecclesiastical. In the Garioch, the first year of that century brought the first of four or 
five successive forms of church government which the next hundred years were to see. 


The King established the Garioch vicarages of Lindores into parishes in 1600 ; when 
he erected the bulk of the Abbey possessions into a short-lived temporal Lordship of 
Lindores, in the person of Patrick Leslie. He was grandson of the Earl of Rothes, 
and son of Sir Patrick Leslie, whom King James had made Commendator of Lin- 
dores, when that office was resigned, five years after the Reformation Parliament, by 

King James's Kirks. 157 

John Leslie, Bishop of Eoss, parson of Oyne in 1569. The King, in 1602, gave John 
Leslie, son of William Leslie of Balquhain, the defender of the Aberdeen Cathedral, per- 
manent possession of the Bishop's lands of Fetternear, with the title of Constable of 
Fetternear, and an annual rent from the Bishop's lands in Clatt. 

The charter of erection of the lordship of Lindores, dated 31st March 1600, evi- 
dences what lands and livings had come into possession of the great Abbe}', founded 
above four hundred years before by David, Earl of Huntingdon and Garioch. The list 
included numerous lands and rents in the counties of Fife, Perth, Forfar, and Kincardine. 
In Aberdeenshire, the Garioch, with the parish of Fintray, was the area within which 
the Abbey drew extensive revenues and upheld religious ordinances. The Abbey pos- 
sessions included the lands and barony of Wranghame ; the lands of Craigtoune, Kirk- 
hill, Wostoune, Christ's Kirk, the Mill of Leslie, the Kirklauds of Auld Leslie ; the lands 
of Largie, Newton, Wranghame, with the mill and ward of the same ; Kirktown of Cul- 
salmond, Pilquhyit, Ledinghame, and Williamston, with the mill ; Malingsyd, Flindirs, 
Logydurno, Etherlik, Kirktown of Insch ; Kirktown of Premnay ; Tillymorgan ; the 
Kirklauds of Kennethmont, Christ's Kirk, Premnay, Insch, Culsalmond, and Logydurno ; 
the Chapel Lands of Garioch ; the lands and barony of Fintray ; the lands of Logy- 
fintray, Fosterissait, Wester Fintray, Langcruick, Milton of Fintray, Balbithan, with the 
fishing in the Don ; Hedderwick ; Craigforthie ; Badiforie, with the fishing in the Don ; 
Monkegie ; Westbynnes ; Kinmuck ; Tullycherie ; Wester Disblair ; Easter Disblair ; 
Cavilsmill ; Middle Disblair ; Smedyhouse ; Smedycroft ; Ailhouscroft ; Inschdero- 
croft, the salmon fishings on the Don, and house and small garden, and coble fishing at 
Futtey ; annual rents from Balhagartie, Kellie, and Inverurie ; the Kirklands of 
Fintray, Inverurie, and Montkegie. The patronage of sixteen churches, including 
Fintray, Inverurie, Montkegy, Logiedurno, Culsalmond, Insch, Kennethmont, Christ's 
Kirk, Auld Leslie, and Premnay, were included in the temporal lordship ; but these 
were all sold by the first holder of the Lindores peerage. 

The charter burdened the Lordship with certain stipends to the ministers of those 
churches. The King had an idea, which he managed by degrees to carry out, that the 
right kind of Kirk for the monarchy to have in Scotland would be, not the self-governing 
Presbytery which had been so intractable under his mother, but an Episcopacy in which 
the Bishops should be dependent on him for their positions of honour, — neither presbyters 
nor bishops, being, however, in such pecuniary condition as should permit them to be re- 
fractory. The King, therefore, gave most of the revenues of the abbey vicarages, which he 
could command, to temporal impropriators ; endowing the parish ministers with the 
smallest part of them. Each minister, or rector as he was also called, was to possess the 
small vicarage tithes of the kirk, or kirks, which he served ; and, in addition, a fixed 
sum of money, namely, Fintray, a hundred pounds ; Inverurie, with Monkegy, a hundred 
merks ; Logydurno (the kirk to be at the Chapel of Garioch), a hundred merks ; Cul- 
salmond, a hundred merks ; Insch, eighty pounds ; and Premnay, forty pounds. 

158 Inverurie and the Earldom of tlie Garioch. 

The way in which the Garioch ministers, successors of the Lindores vicars, came to 
have so moderate a living secured to them, out of the church jsroperty of their parishes, 
is explained, in a manner characteristic of the times, by an Act of Secret Council 
obtained, in 1572, by John, Master of Forbes, against Master James Harvy, factor of the 
Kirks of the Abbey of Lindores. The Master of Forbes had obtained, under the Privy 
Seal, during the distribution of clerical spoil after 1560 which rewarded the new 
orthodoxy, a gift of all the teinds, fruits, and emoluments of the parish kirks of Fintray, 
Monkegy, Enrowry, Logy-Durno, Prymna, Leslie, Culsalmond, Inche, Christ's Kirk, 
and Trewle Kirk ; but Master James Harvy, accustomed to the mode of collecting 
these, had been too sharp for him, and the Master of Forbes was likely to find his 
Protestant virtue its own sole reward, and so invoked the aid of the Secret Council. 

The vicar's living at Inverurie, in 1297, was 33 merks, with the altarage and the 
tithes of Conglass. The Bishop of Aberdeen had, in that century, obtained a Papal 
order that the vicars of abbeys within his diocese should have but 15 chalders ; but the 
abbeys of Arbroath and Lindores got the order withdrawn. In 1366, the ecclesiastical 
revenue of the parish amounted to 17 merks per vicarium, 25 chalders of victual, 9 
merks, and 10 shillings. After King James fixed the ministers' living at 100 merks, 
we have two valuations of benefices, in 1644 and 1677, when that of Inverurie appears 
in those different years, £2547 and £2317 — large sums to whomsoever the overplus 
went which was left after payment of the minister's 100 merks. 

A short notice of the manner of the transition, from the ancient endowments to 
the modern system of stipends, may be here of some historical interest. 

The Papist clergy offered Queen Mary part of their revenues, in order to avert the 
greater revolution then impending. The Crown agreed to take one-third, wherewith to 
pay stipends to the parochial clergy. The returns of incomes made, beginning with 1560, 
showed the maximum stipend, paid out of that third, to be but 300 merks, or £16 13s. 4d. 
In 1564, the General Assembly applied to the Queen for more ample support to the 
ministers; and a little more was given. In 1567, an Act was passed upon the narrative 
that the ministers had been long defrauded of their stipends, ordering the payment of the 
third to the ministers, and their collectors, notwithstanding of any discharge granted by 
the Queen, "aye and until the kirk come to their full possession of their patrimony, whilk 
is the teinds ". Some years later, the reformed clergy were induced, by promise of a 
more liberal provision, to allow the third to be uplifted, as before, by the Crown's 
collectors ; and a Commission was appointed to modify stipends out of the third. The 
stipends were not, however, found out of the local teinds, but out of the general fund, 
and the Bishop's rents were exempted from payment into it. Until 1617, stipends were 
not provided from the teinds of the respective parishes. By an Act of that year 
a Commission was empowered to modify a perpetual local stipend. The minimum 
was to be 500 merks, equal to £27 15s. 6|d., and to consist of five chalders of 
victual and mone}', together equal in value to 500 merks, exclusive of manse 

King James's Kirks. 159 

and glebe. The maximum was to be ten chalders, or £55 lis. l^d., and a 
manse and glebe. The Commission consisted of thirty-two persons, eight being 
selected from each of the four estates of bishops, lords, barons, and burgesses. 
In 1621, another Act reduced the Commission to six of each estate, and removed 
the limit to the stipend that should be modified, but prohibited the Commission 
from altering or meddling with any stipend settled by the Commission of 1617. King 
Charles I., in 1625, by an Act of Privy Council, revoked all former grants of ecclesias- 
tical property made by the Crown, and all Acts of Parliament relating thereto. The 
nobles, in alarm, petitioned the King, in 1626, to appoint a Commission. A Commission 
of Surrenders and Teinds was accordingly issued, inter alia, " to make sufficient 
provision for those churches of which the teinds will be received, if the said churches 
be not already sufficiently provided ". The carrying of the Surrender into effect was 
one of the causes of the King's losing the favour of such of the Scottish nobles as had 
got possession of the church property. These were so incensed at the measure that, it 
is said, a conspiracy was formed to massacre, during the sitting of Parliament, the 
nobles whom the sovereign had got to promote his views. In 1641, an Act authorised 
augmentation of stipends to a minimum of eight chalders, or 800 merks. The Act was 
renewed in 1644 and 1649, and appointed three of the chalders to be in victual, and the 
rest in money. In the seventeenth century, the usual amount of a stipend was eight 

The first- minister settled in the Garioch under the new arrangement of the Lindores 
benefices, was Mr. James Mill, presented to Inverurie and Monkegy by the King him- 
self. The process of settlement is interesting as differing much from the present usage. 
The King's presentation, dated 16th January, 1600, at Holyrood, gave Mr. Mill the be- 
nefice, " in room of Alexander Mackie, formerly vicar, deposed ". His institution, as it 
was called, took the form of a feudal investiture ; and is recorded in the protocol book 
of George Barclay, notary public, at that time Town-Clerk of Inverurie. It proceeded 
upon certain documents, viz. : — the King's presentation, and the letter patent under the 
hands of the Moderator and Clerk of the Presbytery of Garioch, addressed to Mr. John 
Walker, minister of Kinkell, directing him to put Mr. James Mill in corporal and actual 
possession of the said vicarages of Inverurie and Monkegy, and all their tithes. 

Three other institutions of that period appear in Mr. Barclay's protocol. The King, 
in 1602, presented Mr. William Forbes to Leslie, vacant by the deprivation of Walter 
Innes. Along with the presentation, a deed of collation and admission passed upon it 
by the brethren of the Presbytery of Mar, was put in the hands of Master Alexander 
Guthrie, parson of Tullynessle, directing him to give ordination, " which letters he gladly 
received, and in presence of the persons concernit, openly read the said letters . . . 
and for obedience thereof received the profession of the said Mr. William his faith to 
God . . . with his aith of obedience to his ordinar and lawful execution of his 
office . . . Also he deliverit to the said Mr. William Forbes the bybill within the 

1 60 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

said kirk of Leslie . . . and actual, possession of the glebe, manse, and kirkland 
. . . be erde and stane ". Mr. Forbes thereupon took instruments in the notary's 

In 1604, on a presentation by the Commendator of Lindores, and patent letters of 
collation by the Presbytery of Garioch dated 1st May, Mr. AVilliam Barclay was insti- 
tuted in Premnay by Mr. George Paterson, rector of the Church of Daviot, on 5th 
August, " by giving him the book of sacred books, none opposing or contradicting ". 

In 1611, at the institution of Mr. Gilbert Keith, in Bourtie, a new document ap- 
pears ; the first Episcopacy begun in 1606 having attained full recognition in 1610. The 
presentation issued by Ludovicus, Duke of Lennox, Earl of Darnley, Lord of St. Andrews, 
Methven, and Aubigny, dated Lyons, April 29, 1611, was addressed to the venerable 
Peter (Blackburn) Bishop of Aberdeen ; whose letters of collation, dated 11th July, were 
addressed to Mr. Robert Burnett, rector of Oyne, and moderator of the Presbytery of 
Garioch. These were, along with letters of special mandate from the said moderator, to 
Mr. James Mill, minister of the church of Inverurie, ordaining him to give institution 
to Mr. Gilbert Keith, in the room of Mr. Thomas Mitchell, the former vicar, deposed. 
The institution took place 15th July, within the Church of Bourtie, where Mr. Keith 
took instruments in the notary's hands at ten o'clock, ante meridiem. The witnesses were — 
Ninian Seton, in Kirkton ; Gilbert Cooper, in Thornton ; John Wischart there ; Andrew 
Thomson, in Muirton ; James Brewster there. Mr. Keith continued minister of Bourtie, 
through the whole of King James's Episcopacy and the Covenanting Church which suc- 
ceeded ; and lived to see the second Episcopacy set up in 1660. 

Gilbert was a family name among the Keiths of Aquhorsk, now represented by the 
grandson of Dr. Skene Keith, once minister of Keith-hall. A Mr. Gilbert Keith was 
master of the Grammar School of Inverurie, in 1607. About the date of the Bourtie 
settlement, Mr. Gilbert Keith, Aquhorsk, registered at Inverurie his sasine of a property 
in Keninay, and one in Schoolhill of Aberdeen. If he was the presentee to Bourtie, he 
might naturally register at Inverurie rather than at Aberdeen. Another Gilbert Keith 
was, while barely qualified, promoted from being a Eegent in King's College, Aberdeen, 
to be minister of Skene where he died before 1638. 

The best known to us of these four rectors was the minister of Inverurie. It was 
his fortune to begin life at the time when the King had a strong desire to establish Epis- 
copacy in Scotland, as being a form of Church government more likely to help his mon- 
archical views than he remembered the Church of John Knox to have been under his 
Royal mother. King James was a manoeuvering monarch, and treated the Assembly of 
the Kirk to a good deal of browbeating, besides favouring it with not a few fast and 
loose promises. Mr. James Mill had, in his youthful zeal, taken part in a meeting of 
the General Assembly convened, in 1604, at Aberdeen, which showed more front against 
the King's practices than the Sovereign was prepared to permit ; aud the Privy Council 
took the opportunity to teach the few ministers who attended a sharp lesson, which 

King James's Kirks'. 161 

others might perhaps read, and thus save future trouble. Some were imprisoned. Mr. 
Mill was admonished to restrict himself to the clerical duties of his own parish ; and 
seems to have thought the advice a prudent one to follow. "We owe some interesting 
notices of his times, to his enforced abstinence from ecclesiastical politics. He became 
a quiet overseer of his diversified flock, enjoying social position — and apparently culti- 
vating it in each of his two marriages ; sometimes taking a share in municipal business 
as a Town Councillor, and seeking the permanent benefit of his parish by means of 
improved educational machinery. He was fond of recording events, in his parish, in 
connection with christenings, and last wills, and deaths ; some of his records being of 
value as illustrating the events and manners of the time. An example of Mr. Mill's 
evidently enjoyed registrations is afforded by his entries as to his own family : 

Mr. James Mill, minister of Inverurie, ane lawful son bnpt. called James. Wit : — Sir George 
Jonstonne of that Ilk and Caskieben, James Elphinstone of Glaek, Alex. Leslie of Tullos, and Mr. 
Andrew Logy, parson of Rane, 13th October, lb'30. Quha was borne 2nd October, 1630. Whilk 
day Jas. Lesly of Achorthies was schot in the richt arm be the laird of Condlan in Frendraneht's 
conipanie. 9 October, 1630, Frendraucht's house brunt : within it six men brunt deid. 

Master James Will, minister, ane lawful dochter borne the sixtent day of Februar, 1632, being 
Thursday ; and was baptisit the twentie-ane day thereoff, callit Elizabeth. Wit : — George Leslie of 
Kiiiiiaigie, elder, James Reid in Artonies, Wr. Jon. Cheyne, Mr. Andro Logy, and Mr. Wm. Strachan. 

Mr. James Mill ane lawful dother the twenty nynt day of October, being Tysday, 1633, bapt. 
callit Jeane. Wit : — George Leslie of Kiucraigie ; and Mr. Wm. Strachan, person of Daviot ; and Mr. 
Patrick Leslie, minister of Kinkell. 

James Mill, minister of Inverury, ane lawful son, bapt. callit Andrew. Wit :— James Elphinstone 
of Glack ; Basting limes, at the Mill of Saphock ; and Mr. Samuel Walcar, 4 Oct. ; who was born 3 
of the same, 1635. 

Master James Mill and Mariorie Elphinstone, ane lawful sone, borne the fourt day of Januarie, 
1637, being Wednesday last, about supper time, bapt. the tent, day of Jan., 1637, callit Alexander. 
Wit :— Alexander Leslie of Tullos ; Wr. Gilbert Keith, minister of Borty ; Ml'. Samuel Walcar, minister 
at Montkegy ; George Grub, in Inverurie ; Mr. Alex. Mitchell there. 

Master James Will, minister of Inverury, and Mariorie Elphinstone, ane lawful son borne the 28 
day of August, being Tysday, bapt. 29 Aug., 1638, callit George. Wit : — G. Lesl}', son to George 
Lesly callit of Bogis, George Leslie of Kincraigie, Wm. Johnstone, bailyie in Inverury. 

James Will, minister at Inverury, and Mariorie Elphinstone, ane lawful dother, bapt. callit 
Mariorie. Wit : — Patrick Forbes of Blairtone, and Wr. Samuel Walcar, minister at Wonkegy, 31 March, 

The first Mrs. Mill, named Margaret Leslie, the widow of Alexander Leslie, was a 
sister of the laird of New Leslie. She bore no family to her husband, Mr. Mill. He 
had married her early in his ministry ; and she brought him considerable means. Mrs. 
Mariorie Elphinstone's contributions to the population of the manse were abundant for 
her time. They ceased with her name-daughter : and the minister's last entry was made 
in the next year, 1641. Of his sons, James — who was born a week before "the burn- 
ing of Frendraught " — became a physician in Inverurie ; and Alexander, who appeared, 
on the mundane stage in 1637, on ""Wednesday last, about supper time," was, in his 
time, minister of Glasgow. Both changed the spelling of their surname to Milne. 

The two brothers — admitted burgesses of Inverurie, 23 August, 1675, a few days 
afterwards had the same honour conferred at Aberdeen. Alexander was ordained to the 
ministry in Glasgow in 1664, having charge of the west district of the city and parish of 


162 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Glasgow, till 1689, when Presbyterianism was established ; he was annually elected Dean 
of Faculty by the University, in the years 1679-81, and died in 1691. His wife who 
died April, 1716, was Ann, youngest daughter of James Hamilton of Broomhill, Lord 
Bishop of Galloway. They had three sons, James, Alexander, and John, and two daugh- 
ters, Barbara and Margaret, who married (as his second wife) her cousin, John Birnie 
of Broomhill, and had issue. Dr. James Milne, who became a considerable burgh pro- 
prietor, was in his time the only doctor between Aberdeen and Huntly. 

From Mr. Mill's registers, and the Protocol of George Barclay, Notary Public, 
and once town clerk of Inverurie, as well as from the court books of the burgh, we have 
the means of illustrating the condition of Inverurie, and, to some extent, the general 
manners and social life of that period. 

Who the clerical neighbours of the worthy rector were, he so far informs us in the 
above records of christening. They had, in the first generation of the seventeenth 
century, changed considerably. In Inverurie the welcome given to Mr. James Mill him- 
self may not have been entirely cordial. The magistrates of Inverurie, in 1600, whose 
names we have in a contract of multures of that year, do not appear witnessing his 
induction. The lukewarmness may have originated from local discontent at the depriva- 
tion of Alexander Mackie, and at the new erection of the parish by King James, in a 
condition of impoverishment for the benefit of Lord Lindores. Mr. John Walker, then 
minister of Kinkell, inducted Mr. Mill, by order of the Presbytery ; who took notarial 
instruments, in presence of Mr. William Forbes, minister of Kintore, William Kyd in 
Inverurie, James Tailyeour there, John Gibb and Alexander Udny in Monkegy, Mr. 
Bartholomew Bobertson in Inverurie, Arthur Forbes, George Kyng, and Bonald Chein. 

The year after King James presented Mr. Mill to Inverurie, his Majesty was in 
Aberdeen, and had in his suite a company of players, one of whom was William 
Shakespeare — as believed by the great dramatist's latest commentator, Mr. Charles 

The Bishops under whom Mr. James Mill served the cure of Inverurie were mostly 
connected with the Garioch district. Mr. Peter Blackburn, the second Protestant Bishop 
of Aberdeen, was brother-in-law of John Johnston of that Bk and Caskieben and of Dr. 
Arthur Johnston. He held many offices, having been, under the Beformed Kirk, 
Commissioner, before Mr. George Paterson, over the Kirks of the Garioch, Laigh of 
Mar, and the Mearns north of the Munth, on the side of the Dee, and after 1606, King 
James' Bishop of Aberdeen — being all the while minister of Aberdeen and a Begent of 
Marischal College. Bishop Blackburn died in June, 1616. 

Bishop Alexander Forbes, who succeeded Blackburn, was previously Bishop of 
Caithness ; to which rank he had been promoted from being minister of St. Cyrus in 
Kincardineshire. He was son of John Forbes of Ardmurdo, whose death (July 8, 1592, 
aged 65) is recorded on the back of the tombstone of Gilbertus de Grie . . , in the 
church of Kinkell ; and which John was the fourth laird of Ardmuido of the surname 

State of Education — Foundation of Marischal College. 163 

of Forbes. The Bishop died after less than two years' incumbency of the See of 

The successor of Alexander Forbes was the celebrated Bishop Patrick Forbes, laird 
of Corse, Bishop of Aberdeen from 1618 to 1635. In his care to foster education within 
the two Universities contained in his diocese, he was a worthy successor of the early 
bishops, Elphinstone and Dunbar. 

Adam Ballenden, who appears in Mr. Mill's entries, was the last Bishop of Aber- 
deen of the succession revived by King James. The General Assembly of 1638 de- 
posed Bishop Ballenden for consecrating a chapel to " an infamous woman, the Lady of 
Wardes ". 


The end of the sixteenth century, which was almost reached before the desolated 
parish churches were supplied with permanent ministers, brought about one event to be 
set against the universal dilapidation of churches and schools which the barons of the 
Beformation effected. The Marischal College was founded in Aberdeen in 1593, con- 
sisting of a principal and four professors of philosophy ; a small equipment, which was, 
however, augmented speedily, and by a succession of benefactors, making it ultimately 
an institution of incalculable value to the North of Scotland ; which, by means of it and 
the much older King's College, came to attain pre-eminence in education over the whole 
kingdom. It was founded as a Protestant University by the inheritor of the revenues 
of the Abbey of Deer, George, fifth Earl Marischal, nephew of Bobert, Commendator of 
Deer, who had been created Lord Altrie, with a charter of the possessions of the Abbey, 
but died without male issue. The Earl was aided in his patriotic plans by the Magis- 
trates of Aberdeen, who made over for his college the buildings of the Greyfriars' 
Monastery, which they had purchased for 1800 merks. The monastery was built about 
1471, on lands granted in 1469 by Bichard Vaus of Meny, burgess of Aberdeen, to the 
Franciscan Friars, lying on the east side of vims fur ear am, or Gallowgate, and at the 
Beformation was ordered by Begent Morton to be set in heritable feu, except as much as 
was necessary for the use and sustenance of the poor. 

The Earl Marischal who founded the College was one of the most accomplished of 
his line; and of such pre-eminence in the State as to be chosen, in 1609, by King James, 
then King of England, Commissioner to represent him in the Scottish Parliament. He 
had doubtless been observant of the need existing for a better educated clergy. Twenty 
years before he founded his University, the General Assembly forbade any person to be 
admitted to the ministry who could not interpret the commentaries made in Latin, 
and speak congruous Latin, and ordered ministers who had not books to be supplied 
with them by the collector of stipends and paid from their stipends. 

The erection of the Protestant College was an outcome of that already eventful 
struggle between the old and the new forms of religion, which was for a hundred years 

164 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

more to give rise to the most important contests which marked that period in the district 
served by the University. In the year after Marischal College was founded the Battle 
of Balrinnes, celebrated in song, was fought hi Glenlivat, the first of many conflicts in 
which the houses of Gordon and Forbes, long feudal antagonists, stood against each 
other in arms for religious causes. The Popish Lords as they were called, viz., the 
Earls of Huntly, Erroll, and Angus, (the last the son of the laird of Kemnay and Gleii- 
bervie) had been engaged in the conspiracy with the King of Spain to reimpose Popery 
upon England and Scotland, which led to the disastrous attempt of the Spanish Armada 
— one of whose ships was sunk near Lord ErroU's Castle of Slams. The Aberdeenshire 
allies were, in 1594, in arms again for mutual defence against the apprehended severity 
of the Crown. In the royal force sent against them under the Earl of Argyll, then a 
youth of nineteen, the eighth Lord Forbes was second in command. A marriage had 
united the houses of Gordon and Forbes by ties of blood, but the irreconcdable 
religious and worldly interests of Protestantism and Eoman Catholicism, continued to 
arrange them against one another ; along with the Hays, Leslies, Setons, and Leiths on 
the Gordon side, and the Johnstons, Keiths, Elphinstones, and Frasers on that of Forbes. 
Lord Forbes married a daughter of the Earl of Huntly, who fell at Corrichie, and it was 
against her nephew, afterwards first Marquess of Huntly, that he was present in Glenlivat. 
The Protestant Lord Forbes was also nearly related to the Earl Marischal ; and his 
sister was the mother of the large family left orphans at Caskieben the year before, of 
whom the youngest son was to be the first Professor of Mathematics in the Marischal 
College, in 1626. In less than half-a-century after the latter date, the ancient barony of 
Caskieben was to pass through the hands of a bondholder, from the Professor's nephew 
to a grandson of the learned Earl Marischal, the first of the Earls of Kintore. 

The foundation of Marischal College serves to bring into our notice Dr. Arthur 
Johnston, afterwards celebrated as a Latin poet, who was one of the earlier students in the 
new institution, and was a cadet of the house of Caskieben. His father, George John- 
ston of Caskieben (the son of William Johnston, who fell at Pinkie), died in 1593, the 
year in which Marischal College was founded, leaving six sons and seven daughters by 
his wife, Christian Forbes, dauglrter of Lord Forbes, who survived her husband untd 
1622. The second daughter, Isabel, married Mr. Peter Blackburn, already noticed. 
Under his care doubtless it was that Arthur Johnston and his younger brother William 
were sent to the new college ; where William, after studying medicine, as Arthur did, 
and acquiring by foreign travel and study such a position that he taught for some time 
in the University of Sedan, became the first Professor of Mathematics in his alma 
mater. These two boys, deprived of their father's care when the elder was but in 
his sixth year, owed the upbringing which prepared them for the eminence they 
attained, to their brother, John ; who was already in his majority when Arthur was born. 
In the poem upon his birthplace, quoted below, Arthur refers with delicate feeling to his 
eldest brother in the lines — 

State of Education — Dr. Arthur Johnston. 165 

Beside the stream a castle proud 
Rises amid the passing cloud 

And rules a wide domain, 
Unequal to its lord's desert. 

John Johnston of that Ilk and Caskieben ruled his domain from 1593 to 1613, 
discharging, as will afterwards appear, the duties of his station in a manner fully 
accordant with the supposition of his having, when in early manhood, acted the part of 
a father to the younger brothers who were left under his guardianship. 

Dr. Arthur Johnston was born at Caskieben in 1587 — when the last of the vicars of 
Inverurie was giving place to the makeshift ministrations of an exhorter, or reader ; which 
function Andro Spens was discharging at Monkegy for 20 lbs. Scots a-year. Andro's 
Latin, it is likely, was not abundant ; for young Johnston was sent to learn that tongue 
at the school of Kintore, from which he went to the new University of Marischal 
College. On leaving Aberdeen he travelled, as was then customary among Scottish 
students of family. He studied medicine and took his degree of doctor at Padua in 
1610; and in the same year was Professor of Logic in Sedan. About that time he 
was, in Paris, laureated a poet before he was twenty-three. He subsequently travelled 
through Italy, Germany, Holland, and Denmark, settling for several years in Prance. He 
married, it is likely during that period, his first wife, Mary Kynuncle, a native of Mechlin 
in Brabant, who died in Aberdeen in 1624. They had at least four sons and two 
daughters. After his return to his native country, Charles I. appointed him his physician 
in ordinary, before 1628 ; a promotion for which he was possibly indebted to Archbishop 
Laud, who was his friend, and at whose request he made his translation of the Psalms of 
David into Latin, published in 1637, in which year he was rector of King's College, 
Aberdeen. Several of his children died before 1630. Before 1629 he had again married. 
His second wife, Barbara Gordon, had a son, "William, baptised at Aberdeen in December, 
1636, and noticed in 1659 as his eldest son. William Johnston became professor of Civil 
Law in King's College in 1669, in which office, he was succeeded in 1673, by a native of 
Aberdeen, Sir George Meolson of Kemnay, a Judge of the Court of Session by the style 
of Lord Kemnay. Barbara Gordon survived her husband, and died at Aberdeen in 
March, 1650. He himself died in 1641 at Oxford, where he had gone to visit a 
daughter married to an English clergyman, and was buried there. The daughter in 
whose house he died was either Mary or Susannah, his first wife's chddren. Of the 
second family there were at any rate three daughters, Barbara, born 1631; Elizabeth 
and Margaret. According to the Inverurie registers, Margaret was married in January, 
1652 — then residing in her sister's house in Inverurie — to George Dalgarno, son to 
Dalgarno of Peathill in Kinkell. Barbara, in 1656, married, as his second wife, Provost 
George Cullen of Aberdeen, whose daughter Helen her brother William wedded in 1662. 

Arthur Johnston's poetical talent did not leave his native spot unnoticed. In 
Latin verses of great beauty he described his recollections of Caskieben and Inverurie. 
He has been ridiculed for the terms in which he fondly recalls the scene ; which is, how 

166 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

ever, in certain states of the atmosphere, one of uncommon loveliness. The following is a 
translation printed of Johnston's ode on his birth place. In an epigram upon Inverurie, 
he notices that at the ecpainoxes the shadow of Benachie, when the sun was setting, fell 
upon his native place : — 

Here, traveller, a vale behold, 
As fair as Tempe famed of old, 

Beneath the northern sky. 
Here Urie with her silver waves 
Her banks in verdure smiling laves, 

And winding wimples by. 
Here Benachie high towering spreads 
Around on all his evening shades, 

When twilight grey conies on. 
'With sparkling gems the river glows ; 
As precious stones the mountain shows 

As in the east are known. 
Here nature spreads a bosom sweet, 
And native dyes beneath the feet 

Bedeck the joyous ground ; 
Sport in the liquid air the birds, 
And fishes in the stream : the herds 

In meadows wanton round. 
Here ample barnyards still are stored 
With relics of last autumn's hoard 

And firstlings of this year. 
There waving fields of yellow corn. 
And ruddy apples that adorn 

The bending boughs appear. 
Beside the stream a castle proud 
Rises amid the passing cloud 

And rules a wide domain 
(Unequal to its lord's desert). 
A village near with lowlier art 

Is built upon the plain. 
Here was I torn ; o'er all the land 
Around the Johnstons bear command, 

Of high and ancient line. 
Mantua acquired a noted name. 
As Virgil's birthplace, I my fame 

Inherit still from mine. 

The concluding line, in its modesty, described the exact reverse of what time has 
brought about. No part remains of the dwelling of the Johnstons, unless a narrow and 
tall pile of vaulted structure, forming part of the house of Keith-hall, and called by the 
servants Caskieben, be accepted as a relic of the Johnstons, notwithstanding its bearing 
the date 1665 over one of its windows. A deep circular moat amidst fine old trees, 
near the present house, encloses a space where the ancient and mediaeval lords of 
Caskieben, from Norman the Constable to the poet's father, held their state. John 
Johnston died, and the children of Sir George Johnston, his son, were born in Ardi- 
harrall, another house on the property. 

Dr. Arthur Johnston at one time possessed the lands of New Leslie, on Gadie- 
side, and tradition has given him as the author of a song, which is said to have 

State of Education — Dr. Arthur Johnston. 167 

discovered to some Scottish soldiers at the siege of Pondicherry the neighbourhood 

of a compatriot in captivity — a lady, who made known her place of confinement by 


" Oh ! gin I war where Gadie rins, 
At the back o' Benachie." 

The delightful verses now sung to that refrain are not so old as the siege 
of Pondicherry, and were written by the late Eev. John Park, D.D., minister of St. 
Andrews, when a young man. They, with a slight poetic licence, describe the locality 
of the fertile stream faithfully : 


I wish I were where Gadie rins, 
Where Gadie rins, where Gadie rins, 
I wish I were where Gadie rins, 
At the back o' Benachie. 

Ance mair to hear the wild bird's sang, 
To wander birks and braes amang, 
Wi' friends and fav'rites left sae laug, 
At the back o' Benachie. 

I wish I were, &c. 

Oh ! mony a day in blithe spring time, 
Oh ! mony a day in summer's prime, 
I've wandering wiled awa' the time, 
At the back o' Benachie. 

I wish I were, &c. 

Oh ! there wi' Jean, on ilka night, 
When baith our hearts were young and light, 
We've wandered, by the cool moonlight, 
At the back o' Benachie. 

I wish I were, &c. 

Oh ! Fortune's flowers wi' thorns are rife, 
And wealth is won wi' toil and strife — 
Ae day gie me o' youthful life, 
At the back o' Benachie. 

Ance mair, ance niair, where Gadie rins, 
Where Gadie rins, where Gadie rins — 
Oh ! let me die where Gadie rins, 
At the back o' Benachie. 

Arthur Johnston makes reference to the Gadie in one of his Latin compositions — 

" Crede mihi, toti notus jam Gadius orbi est," 

and there used to be sung to the well-known air some verses which the writer has heard, 

in a form evidently impaired, which may have been part of the song traditionally 

ascribed to Johnston- — 

Oh ! gin I war where Gadie rins, 
Where Gadie rins, where Gadie rins, 
Oh ! gin I war where Gadie rins, 
At the back o' Benachie. 

168 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

I wad ne'er seek hame again, 
Seek hame again, seek hame again, 
I wad ne'er seek hame again, 
To view my ain couutrie. 

For its there the bormie lassie lives, 
The lassie lives, the lassie lives, 
For its there the bonnie lassie lives, 
"Wha's promised to be mine. 

An' I'll buy to her the silken hose, 
The silken hose, the silken hose, 
An' 1 '11 buy to her the silken hose, 
To deck her ankles fine. 

An' a gowden band sail belt her waist, 

Sail belt her waist, sail belt her waist, 

An' a gowden band sail belt her waist, 

Wi' a diamond clasp to bind. 

An' I'll braid her hair o' the chestnut hue, 
The chestnut hue, the chestnut hue, 
An' I'll braid her hair o' the chestnut hue, 
As it waves in the summer wind. 

Wi' the rose sae red and the rose sae white, 
Wi' the rose sae red and the rose sae white, 
Wi' the rose sae red and the rose sae white, 
For she's to be my bride. 

An' syne-awa' to the kirk they've gane, 
To the kirk they've gane, to the kirk they've gane, 
An' syne awa' to the kirk they've gane, 
Where they stood side by side. 

An' the bands were tied an' the blessin' said, 
An' the blessin' said, an' the blessin' said, 
An' the bands were tied an' the blessin' said, 
An' a happier pair than they 

You wadna hae seen whar Gadie rins, 
Whar Gadie rins, whar Gadie rins, 
You wadna hae seen whar Gadie rins, 
In a lang, lang summer day. 

Two portraits of Arthur Johnston exist, both the work of his friend, George 
Jameson. One is in Marischal College, dated 1623,— the year after the poet was ad- 
mitted a Guild Burgess of Aberdeen, and when he was contemplating a period of foreign 
residence, in prospect of which he nominated guardians to his children — James, 
Ludovick, Nicolas, George, Mary, and Susannah. The curators were Mr. Duncan 
Forbes of Balnagask and his son, John Forbes, and Gilbert Johnston of Forresterhill, 
Dr. Johnston's own brother. The other portrait (hanging in King's College) was painted 
in 1629, about the time of his second marriage, and the year after he published Elegias 
Dure, at Aberdeen, when the author is styled Medicus Begins. The warm tints, 
characteristic of the works of the Scottish Vandyke, clothe the gentle and intellectual 
countenance of the poet with a pleasing atmosphere of colour. 

The School of Inverurie under King James's Episcopacy. 169 



One of the most interesting and honourable efforts of the burgh towards a 
substantial condition of prosperity in the early times of its renascence, was made in 
the way generally considered as characteristic of Scotland, and most associated with the 
welfare of the country. In the beginning of the century, the magistrates had obviously 
been in communication with the lairds and parish ministers around, regarding the 
possibility of erecting a school of a superior order ; and the result was that the Laird of 
Caskieben, Arthur Johnston's eldest brother, became a baillie for one year, and, along 
with Patrick Leslie of Kincraigie, and Xorman Leslie, two other of the baillies, got the 
council and community to adopt a formal resolution to erect and uphold " a grajier 
scoill " ; — the neighbouring gentlemen and ministers contributing half the maintenance 
of the teacher. 

The term Grammar School, employed to designate the school proposed to be 
established, is instructive. It is not likely that any general system of popular education 
existed before the Eeformation ; and the only schools existing, outside the monasteries, 
would be grammar, or Latin, schools. Within the religious houses an excellent 
education was often to be obtained ; and the monks, going constantly about among the 
people, would select talented youths — as the Scottish parish schoolmaster generously 
did long afterwards — and induce them to be trained in liberal acquirements, or in 
skilful handicraft. Men of superior parts were thus secured for the priesthood, as John 
Barbour had been. Within such religions houses, it is likely, more than in the few 
schools found in the country, exceptional youths of the upper ranks acquired their 
accomplishments, who gained for themselves positions of distinction in a rude age, like 
Stephen De Johnston, " the Clerk ". 

In important localities schools had, it is likely, existed for centuries. Thomas de 
Bennin was rector of the schools of Aberdeen in 1263. The scheme of John Knox to 
devote a third of the ecclesiastical revenues, confiscated at the Eeformation, to the 
education of the people, if it referred to the establishment of a novel institution, 
would be more readily checked bj r the sneers of the reforming lords at the proposal, 
as a devout imagination, than if it had been a suggestion to render more efficient the 
then existing means of education. 

There had, doubtless, been a school at Inverurie before the beginning of the 
seventeenth century; but the first notice of such an institution is in 1608, when it is 
mentioned as being enjoined by the feudal charter of the burgh's lands. 

During the first generation after Popery was disestablished in 1560, it must have 
proved nearly as difficult to find schoolmasters for the schools, as it was to have the 
parishes served by competent clergymen. The readers, who very defectively supplied 
the place of parish ministers, may generally have acted, as they certainly in some cases 

170 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

did, as schoolmasters ; and many of them being former schoolmasters, or conforming 
priests, would be qualified to overtake the work in so far as their numbers went. 

In 1601, schools were very deficient; for in that year the General Assembly 
complained of the decay of schools, and of the imperfect education of the youth in the 
knowledge of good letters and godliness — especially in the uplandish parts — for lack of 
sufficient provision to entertain a qualified schoolmaster. 

The state of education in the beginning of the century is indicated by the number 
of notaries who found employment ; places like Kirktown of Chapel and Eocharrald 
appearing as the residences of such officials, as well as cities, burghs, and villages. The 
frequent granting of wadsets at that period would give much occasion for their services, 
but the proportion of the population having occasion to transact business, who were 
unable to write, was large. At the contract of the multures, entered into by the 
magistrates of Inverurie with the laird of Wardes, hardly one of the burgesses, parties 
to the deed, signed, except with his hand at the notary's pen. 

Inverurie probably contained one of the decayed schools. Dr. Arthur Johnston, 
son of the laird of Caskieben, laid the foundation of his much admired facility in Latin 
at the school of Kintore. His school days fell in the latter part of the sixteenth 
century, when Kintore parish engaged the entire services of a reader, John Chalmers, at 
20 lbs. Scots a-year ; besides sharing with Kinnellar in the ministerial services of Mr. 
George Paterson, appointed at Beltane, 1570, with a stipend of 100 lbs. Scots. The 
erudition of Andro Spens, who was reader at Monkegy, at 20 lbs. a-year, was not, it 
is likely, deemed sufficient for the training of the talented Johnston. 

The Burgh Eecords of Aberdeen of 1612, afford instructive illustration of the 
condition of school discipline at that period, the nature of the higher schools, and the 
resort of the young squirearchy to the schools of large burghs ; at the same time 
notably exhibiting the difficulty of making great changes by law in social customs. 
Under date 3rd December, 1612, it is recorded that "the quhilk day Alexander 
Gordoune, sone to Maister AVilleame Gordoune, commissar of Moray ; Alexander 
Gordoune, sone to James Gordoune of Lesmoir ; Johnne Innes, sone to Alexander Innes 
of Coltis ; Johne Johnestoune, sone to Bobert Johnestoune at Kayesniylne ; Hew 
Cummyng, sone to Umquhill Alexr. Cummyng of Culter ; and Willeame Fraser, sone 
to [ ] Fraser of [ ], wer accusit this day be Alexander Butherfurd, 

provest, for the great enormities, disordour, and abuse done and committit be thame and 
thair associat scollaris within the Grammer, Sang Schuill, and Writing Schuillis of this 
burghe, in tacking of the said Sang Schuill upone the first day of this instant December, 
lang befoir the superstitious tyme of yuill, against the laudabill Actis and statutis maid 
thairanent obefoir, nochtwithstanding that souirtie wes found be thame that they sould 
not tack the saidis scuillis at that tyme, nor na uther tyme of the year ; and that thay 
sould observe gude ordour and discipline within the saidis schullis ; lykewayis for 
wearing of mines and schoitting thairwith, alswoll on the nicht as on the day, and for 

The School at Inverurie under King James's Episcopacy. 171 

greit deidis of oppressioune and ryottis committit be thame sen the first day of 
December, againis diveris nichtbouris of this burghe, in cumeing to thair houssis, and 
bracking up thair durris and windowis, and maisterfullie away tacking of thair foullis, 
pnltrie, breid, and vivaris, and als for tacking, at thair awin hand, of fewall and vivaris, 
cumeing to this burghe and mercat thairof, &c." It appears that the lads had taken 
possession of the writing school on the first of December, and held it until the 
afternoon of the third, with hagbuttis, pistollis, swordis, and lang wapynnis, until the 
magistrates took the insurgents by force, and incarcerated them in the " Tolbuith ". Gil- 
bert Leslie, reader, and master of the writing school, joined the magistrates in the attempt 
to establish order, and engaged to receive no scholars in future without sufficient 
caution for their good conduct. In consequence, he was attacked next day by a party 
of youths from the country ; and though they were punished, the attack was repeated 
soon afterwards, for which repeated offence the delinquents were fined, and ordained to 
receive public rebuke in the aukl kirk of the burgh, in front of the pulpit ; and there 
to beg pardon of God, and of the magistrates, turning to their " dask " ; and lastly, " to 
crawe the said Gilbert Leslie, qnhome thay hurt, pardoun and forgiveness for the same, 
schak handis with him, and promeis newer to do the lyk in tyme cumming". 

This account of the " tacking " of the schools, and holding them with offensive 
weapons, reads exactly like an account of " barring-out " in an English public school 
fifty years ago — appropriate testimony to the identity of boy nature. The source of the 
riot — which was the alleged suppression of the customs of the Christmas season — was one 
that gave much trouble for half a-century to the Church authorities, in the case of the 
rural population. The circumstance of the culprits in the Aberdeen riot having been 
all gentlemen's sons from the country, points to the great deficiency of schools in the 
rural districts, which is noticed in other documents. 

The Gramer Scoill of Inverurie appears in its origin as follows : — 

20 Oct., 1606.— The Council electit John Johnston of that Ilk, Patrick Leslie of Kincraigie, and 
Normand Leslie, Bailies. 

Said day it is statute and ordanit be Advyse of the said bailies, and common consent of the 
counseill and communitie, to have ane Gramer Scole erectit and upholdin within the said bruch. 
And for the upholdin and sustenation of the said scole the haill township, be this present act, binds 
and obleises them to gitf yearlie twenty punds money to help to pay the Scoillniaister's build ; where- 
upon the said bailies took act and instrument. 

19 Oct., 1607.— At the Kirk of Inverurie— 

The bailies and counseill being agreeit that the M r of Scoill, Mr. Gilbert Keyth, his stipend of 
twenty lbs., for this year for bygane, sail be payit, quam primum, and the saidScoil be main tenit from 
henceforth : And the said twentie lbs. for the M r of Scoill's fee, to be payit yearlie as follows, viz., 5 
libs, at Ilk quarter. And that out of the common guid. 

23 Oct., 1607. — According to ane former act set down be the bailies and conseil for upholding of 
ane Gramer Schoill, conforme to the narrative of the feu charters of the toune lands : It is contractit 
and finalie agreeit between the said bailies and conseill on the ane part, and Mr. Adam Barclay on the 
other part, for teaching of ane Gramer Scoill for ane year, as efter follows, viz : — The said Mr. Adam 
sail faithlullie and diligentlie discharge his dewtie in teaching the said schoil for ane year, his entrie 
being at this present Hallowday, iu anno 1607 years. And for sure performance of his dewties — The 
laird of Corse is become cautioner to the Presbyterie of Garioch, be his letter. And the said Adam has 
subscribit the present Act. And the bailies and conseill of Inverurie sail gyff to the said Mr. Adam 
20 lbs. money, to be payet quarterlie; for the qlk the Thcsaurer William Kob'sone is become 

172 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

cautioner, with ane free house and ane chawmer. And the other 20 lbs. to be payit, be the gentlemen 
and ministers next adjacent to Inverurie, be ane voluntarie collection, for the qlk Mr. John Walcar, 
minister at Kynkell, is become obligit ; and for the observing of the hail contract hereof the saids 
parties hes subscryvit thir presents with their hands, day, year, and place above written. Mr. Adam 
Barclay with my hand. Kincraigy, Normand Leslie, ballyie. Will. Robertson with my hand. 

24 Dec, 1608. — Said day, according to ane former Act sett doune be the baillies and consall, for 
upholding of ane Gramer Sehoill according to the narrative of their feu charter upon the common 
lands, it is contractit and agreeit betwixt the said bailies and consall of the said bruch, on the ane 
part, and Mr. George Keith on the other part, for teaching of ane Gramer Sehoill for ane year as fol- 
lows, viz., the said Mr. George Keith sail faithfullie and diligently discharge his dewties in teaching 
the said sehoill, for ane year, his entrance to be at the present, as giff it had been at hallowday last 
160S. And for performing the said Mr. George Keith his dewties therein, the said Mr. George obleisit 
him to discharge his honest dewtie. And that onlie on conditions as sail be intiraat to him be the 
presbeterie, bailzies and consall of the bruch ; and in testification hereof the said Mr. George Keith has 
subscrivit thir presents, and the said bailies sub. and binds them to pay yearlie to the said Mr. 
George Keith for the said yeir, 20 lbs., viz., 5 lbs. quarterlie : And other 20 lbs. yeirlie to be payit to 
the said Mr. George, be the gentillmen and presbyterie of Garioch, for which Mr. James Mill and Mr. 
John Walcar become cautioners. 

10 Oct., 1612. — Court held be Patrick Leslie of Kincraigy and William Robertson, Bailzies ; the 
sergent calls the court, lawfullie fencit and affermit. 

The said day anent the election of Mr. Alexander Mitchell, sehoill master within the bruch, for 
the educating and instructing of the youth of the same in the Latin Tiling. And to the effect the said 
Mr. Alex, may haif the better courage to behaif himself diligentlie in his said caling, compeirit the 
persons and ratit themselffis in payment to the said Mr. Alex, of the soumes of silar and 
victual respectively following : — Viz., Alex. Porter, Alex. Fergus, ane peck meill ; Mr. James 

Mill ane firlotte meill ; John Johnston ; George Mackieson, 20sh. ; John Angous, four sh. 4p. ; 

Andrew Hutcheon, 6sh.8p. ; George Grub, lOsh, ; John Mackieson, 26sh. 8p. ; Wm. Robertson, two 
tirlots meill ; Alex. Badyenot, two pecks meill ; John Rotsone, 6sh.; Thomas Smyth Alex. 

Smyth, 12sh. ; John Ronald, ane free house ; Wm. Johnstone, younger, a perk, and lOsh. ; AVm. 
Stevin, a peck meill ; Wm. Johnstone, elder, 13sh. 4p. ; Wm. Smyth, 13sh. ; John Thomson ; 

William Thomson ; umquhille John Johnstone, Robert Taylor, 6sh. ; George Smyth, ane firlott meill ; 
Patrick Leslie of Kincraigy, ane bow meill ; Walter Innes, of Ardtannes, ane bow meill : Whilk par- 
ticular persons agreeit the execution of poynding follow. 

Lyke as the baillies and consall give special command and direction to pay to the said Mr. 
Alexander twenty pounds money out of the common guid, and the thesanrer at his next collecting to 
pay the same : Quhilk particular soume of money and victuale sail be quarterlie callit and upliftit be 
the bailies for the time, and delivered to the said Mr. Alexander ; the first collection being at Hallow- 
mas next, the second at Candlemas following, the third at raid Day, the fourth and last at lambas. 

And that the said Mr. Alex, may reseid and continue still at the same carriag, during the space 
above specified : Compeired Patrick Leslie of Kincraigy, and became cautioner to the effect aforesaid, 

Whereupon the said Mr. Alexander, for himself and Mr. James Milne, minister of the Kirk of 
Inverurie, in name of the tuik acts and instruments. 

Mr. Alexander Mitchell appears once, or oftener, as re-elected. Trie Burgh records 
are wanting from 1620 to 1646, and after the latter date they bear no reference to the 
school, which appears first again, in 1649 in the minutes of the Presbyteiy. His 
name occurs in the minister's register frequently, and he seems to have discharged his 
duties with a degree of comfort and security, contrasting strongly with that apparent 
in the condition of Inverurie schoolmasters when the century was half through. He 
continued schoolmaster until 1636 ; and possibly until the Covenanting troubles 
unsettled parochial affairs a second time, and brought on numerous depositions and 
suspensions of ministers, and excommunications of laymen for malignancy — a 
constructive crime, charged against those who desired to retain their allegiance to King 
Charles I., irrespective of the resolutions of the Solemn League and Covenant. 

Mr. Mitchell married, apparently, a sister of George Leslie of Eothmaise, one of the 

Urbs in Rare. 173 

aristocracy of the town and neighbourhood, which comprehended the lairds of Blakhall, 
Badifurrow, Glack, and Caskieben ; with whom, and the municipal dignitaries, the 
schoolmaster exchanged such friendly offices as that of witness at baptisms, will makings, 
&c. Mr. Alexander Mitchell was appointed, in 1636, by the Bishop along with the 
minister of Inverurie and Kinkell, the baillie of Inverurie, and the Laird of Kincraigie 
to hold an inquest upon a child, supposed to have met its death by cruel means. 

Mr. Mitchell possessed, in security of the marriage portion with his wife, the rood 
of land in the Upper Eoods, on which the row of cottages, No. 107 High Street, now 
stands — George Leslie of Bothmaise then living on the lands afterwards called Stone- 
house. The Over Cobill Haugh (a part of the burgh lying south of the Don), as well as 
the Broadholme, and the Little Croft, now the north part of Urybank, all belonged, 
at one time, to Mr. Mitchell. His name does not appear amongst the burgh heritors in 
a list dated 164:5-6 ; and four years later a charge of horning appears against Alexander 
Mitchell, son of Alexander Mitchell, at the instance of Alexander Paterson, the burgh 

"What sort of schoolroom the Inverurie teacher then occupied does not appear. 
Later records respecting repairs of both school and kirk, indicate a shortcoming 
inclination on the part of heritors to spend money on public objects of that description. 
The " free house " which John Ronald could give, must have been in Market Place ; 
the locality occupied by all the Parish Schools of after times. An Act of Privy 
Council in 1616, which was followed by an Act of Parliament in 1633, had to be 
resorted to in order to compel provision for the education of the young ; and, evidently, 
the duty was neither welcome nor extensively performed ; unceasing efforts on the part 
of the Church, and by degrees the compulsion of the Court of Session, were required to 
make educational provision general. 

In 1649, when the country was settling down again, after the prolonged tumult in 
social life which accompanied the Solemn League and Covenant, the Inverurie school 
had to be recommenced, as if it had never existed. 


At the beginning of the seventeenth century, when local records first throw light 
upon the life of Inverurie, several families of Johnstons, all, it is likely, originally 
offshoots of the house of Caskieben, had formed the municipal aristocracy, along with 
a single family of Leslies, who, in a state of ascending fortunes, were becoming, by 
purchase, or heritable bond, masters of numerous holdings, the former property of 
Johnstons, Thomsons, and others. 

Norman Leslie, a brewer of local importance, had his inclosed square of houses 
with yards, where Kirkland Terrace now spreads itself ; and he looked across the King's 
Gait upon a wide expanse of eighteen roods, which he called his own, separated from the 

174 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Stream Head by the Mill Gait. Norman had no child ; and a much younger brother, 
George, succeeded to his property when a boy in 1610 ; and became himself, afterwards, 
the great man of Inverurie, building a mansion, called the Stone House, on the eighteen 
roods, and making out for himself a garden, of nine roods' breadth, on the site of his 
brother's former abode. Alexander Leslie, their father, after succeeding his own brother, 
William, who was laird, about 1590, of fourth part of Barra, and in Inverurie of the 
Castlehill and Castleyards, had died sometime before 1G00 ; and his widow married the 
minister, Mr. James Mill, in 1603. He had a son, James, older than Norman, who 
went, like many of the Scottish youth of the period, to Poland, and Andrew the son 
of James, claiming the heritage long after, brought George Leslie apparently to the 
end of his prosperity. 

Different families of Johnstons, almost all having a "William among their sons (and 
so obliged to use distinctive names, such as Rob's Willie), possessed all the Lower Roods, 
from near Norman Leslie's to opposite the present church, upon the site of which the 
manse then stood ; a Fergus family occupying the land where the Station Eoad now is. 

The opposite Upper Roods, northward from Norman Leslie's large possession, were 
in the hands of Johnstons, Fergusons, Andersons, Bainzies, Gibs, and Bodwells. Several 
kilnbams, recorded as standing on the ends of these roods, preserve the memory of the 
brewing done in that end of the town. 

The market cross stood in the only street of the Burgh, near the spot where the top 
of it is now built into the garden wall of the hotel. The Gauge Rig, presumably the 
standard rood, was alongside the Cuninghill or Dava Roods, belonging to the Lord 
Superior of the Regality. The Town-House, frequently dated from as the Prajtorium 
in the earlier minutes of the burgh courts, was, it is likely, near by. 

The house used for the earliest tolbooth now traceable, was bought by Baillie 
George Leslie, from James Fergus and his wife, as late as 1643, and stood where No. 
81 High Street now is ; part of the regality lands, and the then glebe lands, lying north 
of it. 

The Sketry Burn, crossing the glebe angularly, cut off a five-sided nook of land, 
upon which the minister's modest square of buildings stood, enclosed by the regulation 
wall of an ell height of stones, and the rest of turf. His dwelling-house, if like the 
manse of a century later, had borne a resemblance to two boxes placed one a-top of the 
other, the upper being reached by a stair, built on to the side of the rooms, and covered 
over by an ordinary roof and wall, forming a hall, which contained a cellar as well. 
The kitchen was a detached work of drystone and turf, with three little windows ; — 
and also detached were a cow-house, hen-house, and barn. 

In the Lower Roods, north of the Sketry Burn, now covered over, a rood, wadset 
in 1580 by a Robert Fergus to Gilbert Craig, was succeeded by a holding of six roods, 
belonging to John Johnston of that Ilk and Caskieben, also held in wadset, as many 
lands then were. Johnstons, Robertsons, Ferguses, Ronalds, Hutchesons, all old 

Ardtannies. 175 

families succeeded ; a narrow rood of the Kirk Glebe, separating them from other 
possessors, named respectively Angus, Fergus, Craig, Bowman, Webster, Scott, and 
Steven,- — to where High Street and Market Place meet. Then followed Johnston, 
Eonald, Ferguson (the Crichie family) ; a large family of Eobertsons terminating the 
Lower Eood hardship, and possessing, also, the adjacent Burn Eigs across the Overburn. 

Over against these, upon the Upper Eoods, between the manse and the Gallowslack 
Croft, along which the high road went, bounding the Upper Eoods on the north, were 
in several cases the same proprietors ; the possessions being generally of portions on both 
sides of the King's Gait. The early family of Grub mingled with the departing 
Johnstons north of the glebe ; Baillie William Johnston appearing in a constant 
succession of heritable bonds, granted over one or other of his many roods, to one great 
man after another — Wardes, Kincraigie, Blakhall, &c. ; or to smaller neighbours, who 
became at last proprietors of his holdings, as Norman Leslie did of many of them. 

Midtown of Inverurie, occupying the space from 31 to 27 High Street, was in the 
possession of a family named successively Makkie, Mackieson, and Mackie, their next 
neighbours being the Craigs, and next the Andersons, both dating from about 1580, 
after which Angus, of the same date, then an early Walter Fergus succeeded, the Grubs 
coming next in order. Their large possession, along with Walter Fergus's, filled up the 
side of Market Place, until other Mackiesons completed the succession of Upper Eood 

A number of these burgh holders appear in the local records of the time. The 
body, however, included several non-residents ; even the baillies of the burgh frequently 
not being indwellers therein, but living, it may be, three or four miles beyond the 
parish boundaries. A household of the immemorial Bainzies, with possibly one or two 
Fergus and Johnston neighbours, had their thatched abodes upon the line now occupied 
by the Town Hall, and stood many a summer afternoon, under their eaves, criticising 
the play going on among the leisurely burgesses upon the Ball Green, which came up to 
their doors ; and in winter, looked out upon the skating rink of Powtate, and the 
snow-ball practice pretty sure to be exhibited when the school discharged its boisterous 

The single street, along which the burgh habitations at that time extended, in the 
two lines now indicated, began at the Mill Eoad, as it was called as often as by its 
other name of Kirk Eoad, which crossed from the kirkyard along the edge of the brae 
above Streamhead and the Heugh Butts, to the Corseman Hill and Ardtannies. 
Northwards the street and town terminated at the Ball Green. Beyond the Ball Green 
— east, or west, or north — no bouse was built for about two centuries after 1600. 

Before proceeding to give some notices of burgh life in the beginning of the 17th 
century, which we find in the registers of the burgh, and in those left by Mr. Mill, it 

176 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

may be convenient to take a historical glance at the important residence of Ardtannies, 
the oldest inhabited spot in the royal burgh, and to set before the reader the inhabited 
condition of the parish around. 

" The Ard tonies " is the knowe or promontory of the imps or " little deevils ". 
Those unembodied spirits which fill up many effective corners of the mythological tableaux 
vivamts of ancient Scotland, must have had assigned to them, in early times, the deep 
set angular haugh and its often misty surrounding river, for their shadowy moonlight 
revels. The spot had, also, undoubtedly active and well-clothed spirits frequenting its 
rich fishing grounds, and its grassy terraces for peaceful or warlike residence, ages 
before means existed of recording their names. 

Ardtannies first appears in history when the great Scottish King, whose chief 
messuage (as the Earl of the Garioch) it was, resorted to it, in his heavy sickness, as a 
quiet resting place ; lying for safety in the hollow, since called Bruce's Cave, situated 
in the inner angle of the hillside, across the Don from the point of the Ardtannies 
haugh ; while the select following he had, in his yet struggling fortunes, lay around 
him, as Barbour describes, on " yonde hauche," and as tradition adds, in the fortified 
Bruce's camp on the hill of Crichie overhanging his resting-place. From that point he 
issued to his first decided success, by the battle of Inverurie, in 1308. If we believe, 
as strategic considerations perhaps compel, that Alexander Stewart, the Earl of Mar, 
marshalled part of his valiant companions on the haugh of Ardtannies, before marching 
upon Harlaw in 1411, we know also that he, and successive holders of the Garioch 
Earldom before his time, held, at that spot, their feudal courts, receiving resignations, 
and granting investitures, of surrounding estates, to successive generations of lairds. 

The next appearance of Ardtannies is in local manuscripts. The Earldom sank out 
of notice when it was roughly appropriated by the Crown ; and its chief manor-place 
comes into notice again, in 1510, when it was the property of the second Leslie of 
Wardes, who was the son of James the Third's treasurer, and acquired the Garioch lands 
from that King's successor. By the second of his five marriages he was the father of 
the first Leslie of Warthill At the period now treated of, Ardtannies was, apparently, 
the occasional residence of Wardes ; but in the way of being occupied by tenants of 
some social position. Mr. Mill had to record christenings there to Walter Innes up to 
1615; afterwards to William Coutts, fiar of Auchtercoull ; afterwards to John Leslie, 
the son of Badifurra. Norman Leslie, the laird's brother, and Walter Innes's successor 
in marriage, and ancestor, by a second wife, of the present baronets of Wardes, also 
lived at Ardtannies. 

The Dava with the mill thereof, as the Ardtannies property was described in 
David, Earl of Huntingdon's deed of gift to the Abbey of Lindores, was, in 1600, 
styled Ardtannies and the Mill of Enrowrie — Walter Innes being the miller. Among 
the earliest transactions of the burgh on record is the agreement between the tutor of 
Wardes and the Magistrates respecting the mill. 

Ardtannies. 177 

Walter Innes was, in some way, — probably as wadsetter, — possessor of Ardtannies 
before 1608 ; as his wife is recorded as resigning her terce of the lands. Walter wa8 
subsequently farmer, as well as miller. 

Gilbert Johnston, brother of John Johnston of that Ilk, and of Dr. Arthur 
Johnston, had possessed Ardtannies in the later years of Walter Innes's tenantcy of the 
land, as he is called "of Ardtannies," in 1613, being, it is likely, the then wadsetter of 
the estate. 

In 1621, John Leslie of Wardes gave a charter of Ardtannies to William Coutts, 
appearand of Auchtercoull, and Janet Gordon, his wife ; which couple had a son, 
Alexander, christened there in 1622, and Eobert, the year after; — -the baronet of Cluny, 
Sir Alexander Gordon, and his son, and the laird of Wardes, being witnesses. That 
period was a rude enough one in such houses. Mr. Mill records a homicide, at 
Ardtannies, thus : — " John Johnston, callit of Inglistown, son to umquhill Patrick 
Johnston, dwelling in Inverurie, upon the sevent day of May, 1623, being Saturday, at 
Ardtannies, was woundit in the left side of his head by ane gryte straik, alledgit strucken 
by John Leslie of Badifurra, in ane meeting after drinking. Stricken down of the 
straik, departit this life the 28th May, being Thursday, at nicht — buriet in Monkeggy." 

In 1636, David Makkie was miller at Ardtannies. John Leslie of Badifurra was 
himself the resident at the Hall in 1631 ; where his father-in-law, William Strachan of 
Tipperty, died in that year. 

The transference of Ardtannies from hand to hand was frequent. Sir George 
Johnston, the first baronet of Caskieben, acquired all the Wardes lands in Inverurie ; 
he held them only for a short time, when they passed from him, in wadset, to 
Alexander Jaffray, Provost of Aberdeen. Alexander Jaffray, his son, was served heir, 
in 1645, in the wadset lands, including Ardtannes ; and, after great part of those 
wadset lands had passed into the possession of Sir John Keith, the first Earl of 
Kintore, Andrew Jaffray, grandson of the Provost, was laird of Ardtannies, and was 
registered in that character in the Poll Book in 1696. 

The ancient Hall, which had such a variety of tenants in that changeful century, 
stood near where a solitary tree, once part of its ornamental planting, remains on the 
edge of a broad platform overhanging the river haugh. It was a two-storey house, 
having the form of the letter T. Its tenants in the end of the century proved but of 
small comfort to the minister, Mr. William Forbes (Mr. Mill's successor), whose 
misfortune it was to experience the zealous times of both the Covenant and the second 
Episcopacy. During the proprietorship of the second Alexander Jaffray, the famous 
Quaker — author of the interesting diary called by his name — a tenant, George Ferguson, 
was delated by Mr. Forbes before the Bishop, for assault during public worship, for 
which George had to " satisfy " in sackcloth. Some years later, Jaffray's tenant, or 
principal servant, a convert to his master's ecclesiastical notions, being, according to the 
mistaken ideas of duty on the part of the Church, in all its phases, during that century, 


1 78 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

prosecuted for Nonconformity, made the most of his position to exhibit himself as a 
martyr, and, without any suffering to himself, contrived to bring down on the minister's 
head the ban of a persecutor — the Quaker narrative making him be visited with a 
judicial death in the pulpit. 

During the last days of the Hall being occupied as a residence, its close neighbour, 
the mill, was a busy scene, and continued to be so until a generation ago. 


The Mill must everywhere be an institution as old as, if not older, than the Kirk, 
with which the Scotch proverb associates it. Several mills appear in the Inverurie 
records. The Castle had, in early times, had a mill on the TJry, the place of which is 
indicated by the Mdnbutts and the Damriggs. The Mill of Knockinglews was the 
Mill of Glascha. Aquhorties, long a separate property from Knockinglews, had a mill 
of its own on the same stream, on the west side of the estate, not far from Glascha. 
The Mill of Woodhill and Badifurrow stood on the burn of Polnar, where the 
foundation of it is still to be seen, about twenty yards below the bridge. Conglass 
and Drimmies were sucken to the very ancient Mill of Inveramsay. The mill known 
as the Mill of Inverurie was the Mill of Ardtannies. The royal charter of the Garioch 
lands, given by James IV. to John Leslie of Wardes, in 1510, included Inverowry, 
with the Dava and the Mill of the same, all as they were held formerly by the Earls 
of Mar. 

The first Ardtannies' miller whose name we have, was "Walter Innes ; he, in 
1604, was conjoint with John Leslie, the proprietor, in a contract of multures, which 
they entered into with the Magistrates of Inverurie, who took burden upon them for 
themselves, and the burgh heritors. The tombstone of this "Walter Innes is still in the 
kirkyard of Inverurie, recording his death in 1616, as well as that of his wife, 
Mariorie Elphinstone, in 1622. 

Walter Innes was a man of importance in the community. Living close by the 
Hall of Ardtannies, the residence of a succession of lairds who dwelt there either as 
proprietors, tenants, or wadsetters, he appears in the records of christenings associated 
with the families of Caskieben, Blakhall, Glack, &c. His wife had apparently been one of 
the Glack Elphinstones. In her widowhood she married Norcnan Leslie, a brother of the 
unfortunate laird of Wardes, who lost Ardtannies. Marjorie Elphinstone removed 
with Norman Leslie to Whitehaugh, on Fetternear, where she died. On being buried, 
she was said to have been awakened from the death-sleep by the gravedigger trying to 
cut the wedding ring off her finger, and to have gone back to her first home at 
Ardtannies. The legend has, fittingly, corrupted her name into "Mary Eerie Orie 
(Meriorie) Elphinstone ". Norman, by a second wife, was ancestor of the more recent 
baronets of Wardes. 

The Mill of Inverurie. 179 

"Walter Innes was the father of a large family, some of -whom were infants at the 
period of his death. His eldest son was a captain in the army ere that time. Besides 
these he had Walter, who died in 1622, Alexander and John, and three daughters — 
Janet, Marjorie, and Margaret. He left as tutors to them in their nonage "William 
Buchan ; Henrie Petrie, burgess in Aberdeen ; James Elphinstone of Glack ; and Mr. 
James Mill, minister of Inverurie ; nominating also, as " oversmen to his bairnis," my 
Lord Elphinstone, and his eldest son, my Lord Kildrimmie, the guideman of Auchter- 
coull, and the Tutor of Cromarty. Lord Elphinstone was, at that time, proprietor 
of the neighbouring barony of Criehie, by a charter from Wardes, dated 1616, includ- 
ing the lands of Meikle Warthill. 

Margaret seems to have married the miller of Cromlet. in Bourtie, or his father. 
A family bible, printed 1613, London, belonging to " Waltere Gordon and Marit Inis," 
went to George Gordon at the Miln of Cromlet (1640-1660), and now belongs to Sir 
Charles Shand (Chief Justice of the Mauritius), a descendant. 

"We are indebted to the singular liking to register facts which the minister 
possessed, for an interesting glimpse of the social position of the miller of Ardtannies at 
the time. His will was made, as were many of those registered by Mr. Mill, 
immediately before his death, being dated 26th June, 1616, the day before Walter 
Innes's death. The witnesses were John Gordon, in Drimmies ; George Leslie, 
hi Broomend ; Robert Murdo, in Ardtannies ; Henrie Petrie, burgess of Aberdeen ; and 
the minister himself. 

The inventory included 10 plough oxen, overhead 16 libs, each; 2 old nowt oxen, 10 
merks each ; 5 kie and 12 car, 12 m. a-piece ; 6 two-year-old steers, 20 merks each; 2 
quyocks, 5 sh. each ; an auld cow, 10 merks; 3 wark horse and mares, 20 merks each ; 
60 sheep, at 35 sh. each ; 33 lambs, 7 sh. each. Beir and corn 8 bolls, oats sown 3 sc. 
(score) bolls ; small corn 60 bolls, and 8 bolls corns in the intowne, insight and 
plenishing 100 lbs. Item, 7 years' tack of his roume, paying theirfor yearly 16 m. 
maill and mill suken, 1 2 capons, according to the assedation ; and for the mill and mill 
croft and the brew croft according to the assedation. 

Walter Innes was a somewhat extensive creditor. The young laird of Balquhain, 
whose family was then getting into prolonged difficulties, as others in that vicinity were, 
likewise, soon to do, owed him 1200 merks. Among the cautioners were Gilbert Baird 
of Auchmedden and George Leslie of Kincraigie (son of Bonny Patrick, who died in 
1613), and Thomas and John Crombie, in Fetternear. 

On the other hand Walter owed Marjorie Innes, his brother's daughter, 300 m. 20 
libs. ; James Innes, " now in Pow," 200, and a Gilbert Johnston, merchant in Inver- 
urie (the first " merchant " we read of) 20 libs. Several individuals are mentioned in 
the Inverurie records about that period as resident in Pow or Poill, (Poland). 

Ardtannies, in Walter Innes's time, was a secluded nook, with no approach up or 
down the river side, except by a steep path from the top of the height behind it, passing 

180 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioeh. 

the circular structures and table-stone before noticed. The abrupt descent led from 
the high road which led from Inverurie, along the top of the Corseman to Polnar, 
Badifurrow, and Fetternear. By that mountain road the vassals of the Earl of Mar, in 
earlier centuries, had come to the regality courts, held on the haugh where the Bruce 
encamped in the winter of 1308. On the Sunday mornings of Mr. Mill's early ministry, 
the form of the stalwart miller would be seen climbing the whinny brae to the level of 
the " Miller's Park," with his well-connected wife, on their way, to the Kirk, accom- 
panied by their neighbours Gilbert Johnston, or Norman Leslie, or young Auchtercoull. 
At the top of the steep they would meet with Kincraigie and his following, or a little 
further on with Blakhall of that Ilk, whose road was by the ancient highway, across 
the Dava, past the "merchants' graves". And the appearance of the well-known figures 
on the height of the Overboat hill would apprise William Davidson, the bellman, 
looking out from the Kirk green down at the Bass, that the "gentles" were coming. Innes 
would also have an occasional Sunday talk with other more professional friends, the 
Glennies, who held the mills of Aquhorties and Glascha ; and while Mrs Marjorie 
Elphinstone stepped on with her future admirer, Norman Leslie, would discuss the 
probable multures of the season, as the manner of millers has been since the time when 
Scott's miller of Kennaquhair paid his annual harvest visit to Dame Glendinning. In 
Scotland, the Kirk and the Kirk road were, for the two centuries after "Walter Innes left 
this world, the most usual agricultural exchange ; and no doubt the Corseman hill had 
its associations of bargain-making as well as the Bialto. 

The sheltered winding river hollow must have been a sweet spot in those days ; 
and as its name indicates, was, it is likely, the scene of legends of the smaller super- 
natural experiences of earlier times. The broad river haugh, towered over by the steep 
banks rising on the other side of the abrupt bend of the Don, was the constant prospect 
looked upon by the solitary priests of Apollinaris Chapel. Unless they and their less 
instructed clerks, and their humble neighbours on the braes of Badifurrow, were more 
free from superstition than the rest of Scotland then was, the frosty mists and hazy 
moonshine which frequently filled the hollow of Ardtannies must have, now and then, 
to their eyes and ears, sheltered and revealed the forms of the fairy folk, or little devils 
(tonies), and their rougher confreres, the kelpies — those powerful, but untrustworthy, 
miller's men whose tricks found as much credit with our despised ancestors, as spirit- 
rapping does now with some advanced philosophers, who are at the same time above 
believing in the supernatural narratives of the Bible. The miller's profession continued 
long to be associated in Scotland with the "black art" or " millerty," as it was called, 
whereby mill-wheels could be stopped or broken, as the Skudder did with the wheels 
of the mill of Caskieben. 

"Walter Innes had become tenant of the whole lands of Ardtannies, and seems to 
have given up the mill before 1609 ; for in that year the burgh gained a lawsuit against 
the Laird of Wardes and Maister George Bisset, his tenant in the mill. 

The Mill of Inverurie. 181 

A family of Eeids were either miller's men, or millers at Ardtaimies for a consider- 
able time. In 1611, William Eeid, "at the mill," had a daughter Janet. John Eeid 
was miller in 1626, when he had a son James baptized, and had been there four years. 
So late as 1708, George Eeid, mill of Ardtannies, was a baillie giving sasine in a Badi- 
furrow infeftment. In 1636, David Makkie was at the mill of Enrowrie ; and was, it is 
likely, one of the locally important family of Mackieson or Mackies, some of whom 
lived long in Badifurra, and others were prominent burgesses, and one a notary in the 

Contemporary with these early millers of Inverurie, officials of the same craft and 
monopoly presided in the baronies of Knockinglews and Aquhorties. 

The mill of Knockinglews, by that time called the mill of Glascha, stood where the 
farm called Mill of Braco has its buildings now. Nether Glascha was near it ; and 
Upper Glascha at the west edge of the wood, near the mansion-house of Braco ; a Brae 
Croft occupied another section of the slope. The house of Braco, then existing, was on 
the opposite slope, on the lower grounds of Benachie. A family named Glennie occupied 
the mill of Glascha, in the first years of the century ; John, William, and Alexander 
Glennie appearing as witnesses to sasines between 1604 and 1608. In 1622, William 
Ferar was at the mill of Balqiihain, the same mill. In 1626, William Simmers was 
miller, and had a daughter, Janet, baptized ; and another, named Elizabeth, in 1634. 

The mill of Aquhorties — of which no trace now remains, except the name of the 
"Milltown Bark" — was occupied from 1611 to 1622 by Glennies, apparently those who 
had before been in the mill of Glascha : George and John Glennie, were both at the 
mill of Aquhorties in 1615, and their sons, Alexander, "Walter, and Fatrick were on 
the estate. 

George Glennie, at the mill, and Margaret Forbes had, when they came thither, 
two sons, William and James. A daughter, Elspet, was born in 1615 ; George died in 
October, 1623, some weeks before the birth of a twin boy and girl, of whom the boy 
died, when on the way to the kirk to be christaned, on the 10th December. 

The next miller of Aquhorties — Gilbert Johnston — seems to have had the mill 
before George Glennie died, being called Myllwart in Achorthes on 18th July, 1622 — 
on the occasion of the christening of twin daughters, Margaret and Isobel. His juvenile 
inmates were augmented in number, by George, 1623; Mariorie, 1625; James, 1627 
William, 1629; and Christian. 

William Snape seems to have been miller's man to both these millers of Aquhor- 
ties. He was there from 1611 to 1631 : and had a daughter in 1611, buried in 1627. 

The history of the mill of Laverurie, as a place of importance, continued until a 
late period. The law of the sucken, as it obtained in Inverurie during the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries is, however, a matter of interest. The earliest burgh transaction, 
a fully preserved record, is a renewal of a contract between the young laird of Wardes 
and the magistrates and inhabitants of Inverurie, respecting the Mill of Inverurie, and 

182 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

the Dava lands belonging to him. It places before us in one view the notables of 
Inverurie in 1 600 — the same year in which the new order of Church was fairly inaugu- 
rated, recalling the Scotch adage of making a " kirk and a mill o't " : 

Contract of Multures and Set of Daaehe Lands between John Leslie of "Wardes and the town of 

At Aberdeen, Dyce, and Inverury, upon the tenth and eleventh days of May, year of God, one 
thousand six hundred years, it is appointed, contracted, and faithfully agreit betwixt honourable men 
John Leslie of Cultis, with consent and assent of James Gordon, fiar of Newton, William Leslie of 
Wardes, George Gordon of Terpersie, John Leyth, appearand of Harthill, curators to the said John 
Leslie of Cultis, Mr. William Leslie of Warthill, James Leslie of Milnton of Durnoch, John Leslie of 
Flinders, Robert Spens of Boighall, and James Leslie of Ardoyne, cautioners and sureties for the 
performance of the said John Leslie's part of the present contract on tbe ain pairt ; William Johnston 
in Inverury, Robert Anderson there, bailies of the said burgh ; Alex. Leslie there, John Johnston 
there, Alexander Makysone there, William Robertson there, Robert Fergus there, James Badyno 
there, William Macky there, and George Macky, his son, John Ronald there, persons of the counsal of 
the said burgh ; Andrew Innes, Robert Johnston, Thomas Johnston, Alexander Badynoch, Walter 
Hutcheon and Andrew Hutcheon, and James Tailyeour, for themselves and taking burden on them for 
the remanent inhabitants and communitie of the said burgh bind themselves, their airs, 

and assignees. 

That the said baillies, counsal, and communitie shall grind the haill cornes of the said burgh of 
Inverury, at John Leslie's niitn of Inverury, in all tym coming as iusucken (the fue teynd and myrbeir 
being deducted as follows), and to pay to the said John Leslie of Cultis his airs and assignees, the 
multures of the said miln, the twenty-four peck for the multure and ane peck of ilk six bolls for the 
knaveship yearly, as iusucken duty as said is. 

Farther agreed that the said haill inhabitants of Inverury, and the occupiers of the said John 
Leslie's half daaehe lands, and lands in Stanners pertaining to the said half daaehe lands, as also the 
said John Leslie's other half daaehe lands of Inverary, called Ardtanis, with the mill lands and crofts 
of the same ilk ane of them pro rata sail uphold the said mill of Inverary in the manner following 
— They shall uphold and big the mill-house, big the mill-damis, cast the watter gang, carry stanes 
and trees to the said mill as insucken for upholding of the said mill and water lead and mill-house, 
as said is, and the millers of the said mill shall find the hail timber on their own expenses. 

If the miller fail of doing his work sufficiently, he shall be tried in a court holden by the baillies, 
with advice of said John Leslie, &c. &c, as titular's of the said Milne, his baillie or baillies for the 
time being, and the said miller condemned, shall be fined double of the skaith suffered, and the said 
miller be removed at Witsunday thereafter, and a sufficient miller provided. 

If the inhabitants or any of them abstract corn that should be ground at the mill, and take it to 
be ground elsewhere, they shall pay double of the multures abstracted to the miller. 

Also, said John Leslie shall set in tack and assedation to the said baillies and consal contractors 
above written, and to sic other inhabitants of the said burgh as they shall all and haill the 

said John Leslie's half daaehe lands of Inverury above written last occupied by the said inhabitants of 
Inverury, at the least ane guide pairt thereof (exceptand always the Stanners' raids and tofts pertain- 
ing to said John Leslie, and his said half daaehe lands of Inverury above expressed), for all the days 
and terms of five years next to the year following the said baillies and counsal entries thereon, which 
was at the feast of Whitsunday last bypast, in the year of God one thousand six hundred years, 
Payand therefore the said baillies counsel and sic other inhabitants as the said bailies and 

coxinsel thinks good to the said John Leslie of Cultis and his forsaids, titulars, for the said half daaehe 
lands, the sum of forty ponds usual Scottish money, at Whitsunday and Martinmas in wynter, by 
equal portions allenarlie, beginning the first demi-payment at Candlemas, and if the baillies shall 
happen to make a set of the said half daaehe lands (deducting as said is), to any other inhabitants, 
said John Leslie binds himself to agree thereto. 

Item, that the said inhabitants of Inverary shall cast eird, fewall, fail], and divots npon the said 
half daaehe lands, hoil stane therein, lead and transport the same, togedder with the eird, fewill, faill, 
and divots, to their own use during the five years of their tack. 

In witness whereof said parties subscribe this presents written by John Maekj'sonne, son to 
Alexander Mackysonne, burgess of Inverary, day year and month before represent, before witnesses, 
James Leslie of 'Ardoyne, Mr. John Leyth, Advocate, John Leslie, servant of the said Mr. William 
Leslie, Alexander Leslie, burgess of Aberdeen, and said John Mackysonne, writer of the paper. 

Parties : — John Leslie of Cultis, Mr. William Leslie of Warthill ; John Leslie, commissioner ; 

The Twal Pairt Lands. 183 

James Leslie, commissioner ; James Gordon, Fiar of Newton as curator consents. John Leyth, 
appearand of Harthill as curator consents. AVilliam Johnston, one of the baillies ; AVilliam 
Robertson, Alexander Mackison, John Johnston, Robert Anderson, James Badynach, and William 
Fergus, with our hands at the pen led be the notar underwritten at our command. Ita est M. 
Johannis Leyth notarius publicus de speeiali mandate dictarum personarum scribere rogatus. 

George Mackay, Alexander Badynoch, Walter Hutcheon, Andrew Hutcheon, James Tailyeour, 
Andrew Innes, James Johnston, John Johnston, with our hands at the pen led by the notar, under- 
writin because we cannot wreit ourselffs. Ita est Joannis Mackieson, not. pub. 

Alexander Leslie, in Inverury, with my hand at the pen led by the notar. Ita est Alexander 
Davidson, not. pub. 

Alexander Leslie, wit. ; John Lesly, wit. ; George Leslie, wit. ; James King, wit. ; George 
Forbes, fiar of Kynstar, wit. ; to the subscribing of Alexander Leslie, Alexander Leslie, servant to 
John Leslie of Cultis, witness to the subscribing of Alexander Leslie, in Inverury. 

The number of municipal dignitaries who were unable to write exhibits the state 
of education at the period, and also explains the occurrence of so manj' notaries as appear 
over the country for a long time after 1600. 

The contract of multures was prosecuted on in 1604, by John Leslie of Wardes, 
" and "Walter Innes, niilner at the said John Leslie's miln of Inverury, callit the milu of 
Artanies ". Young Wardes, it is likely, held Cults in marriage provision. 

The connection of the burgh with the mill appears frequently afterwards in some- 
times graphic orders by the magistrates, for the muster of the burghers, about the dam- 
dyke, and other works, which they had to keep in repair. From a case at Leslie, in 
1601, it appears that seisin of a mill was given by putting the mill clap into the 
hands of the new proprietor, as the appropriate symbol of ownership. 


In the latter half of the preceding century the formation of crofts out of the 
common lands of the burgh had been begun. All the lands within the burgh 
boundaries, lying around the two ranges of Upper and Lower Eoods, held immediately 
of the Crown by individual proprietors, were originally the property of the burgh ; except 
the Dava lands enumerated in the contract of multures given above, which were the por- 
tions retained by the Lord Superior of the Kegality from David of Huntingdon's time, 
until King James IV. bestowed the same on John Leslie of Wardes. 

The common lands were of various values. Among the untilled rough pastures lay 
portions of better quality, which were early brought under cultivation. These were 
known by peculiar names. The Burn Rigs lay north of the Overburn and the Ballgreen 
at right angles to the burn. Across their northern extremity were a few strips called 
the Content Butts. East of these rigs and butts lay a fan-shaped cluster of long 
triangular strips named the Crawstane Butts ; and eastward from these, abutting on the 
Northburn, lay a wide range of long rigs, intersected by the road to Meldrum, called the 
Longland Folds, extending from the Crawstane Butts nearly all the way to the Ury, 
and had the North Burn for their south boundary. Other minute portions of cultivated 
twelfth-part lands lay in the Stanners, Currie's Haugh, and the Hungry Hill. 

From an unknown date — possibly that assigned by local legend to farmer Bainzie 

184 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

and his eleven sons, the good soldier of Eobert the Bruce at the battle of Inverurie — 
these cultivated patches of the common lands had been divided into twelfth parts, to 
each of which was appended in property a portion of pasture ground in the haughs or 
moors, which lay uncultivated on the outer edges of the burgh lands. Whether the 
term " Twal Pairt," the designation of those lands held in feu of the community, was 
due to an original distribution into twelve equal portions by royal gift, or to any other 
circumstance connected with the lands themselves, is unknown ; but the parts had, by 
the time of the earliest notices, become divided into half-twelfths and quarter-twelfths, 
and some were aggregated into larger holdings. 

Crofts existed also of the common lands. Within the cultivated twelfths, now 
described, were Eobin's Croft, now the east side of Constitution Street ; and the Crosslet 
Croft at the junction of West High Street with Market Place ; whde the Gallowslack 
Croft at the Porthead lay opposite, bounding the Upper Eoods. Brandsbutt very early 
appears at the Burgh's march with Blackball ; and on the opposite side of the burgh was 
Crofthead on the Don adjoining Upperboat, the east extremity of Ardtannies. 

The common lands called Twelfth Parts had, within the memory of persons living 
in the beginning of the seventeenth century, been held not in absolute property, but 
merely by a right of cropping in turn. Originally, or at anyrate, about the middle 
of the seventeenth century, the owners of Twelfth Parts had their lands divided 
among them periodically by lot, according to the number, or the fraction, of the 
standard " part " to which they had right ; and the pieces falling to them were 
cultivated by them untd a new distribution was resolved upon. This method of 
cultivation had been felt to be so inconvenient that, before 1580, it was entirely 
abandoned, and the magistrates issued charters giving the twelfth-part owners possession 
of allotted shares in permanence. 

That completion of the settlement of the twelfth-part properties, in this form, was 
established on evidence in 1616, in a process before the Burgh Court, which originated 
in a prosecution for the strong-handed uplifting of a neighbour's crop from a portion of 
twelfth-part lands. The offender was the John Mackieson, the 'writer of the multure con- 
tract. He pleaded, in defence, the old custom of the burgh of working the common 
lands in cavel, or turns arranged by lot ; and William Johnston, the baillie, contracting 
in the same multure settlement, who was in 1616 a very old man, gave evidence as to 
the system being changed in, or before, his boyhood. 

These cultivated, or intown twelfth-part lands lay close to the Roods, almost all on 
the north-east side. Outside the Roods and twelfths lay a number of less valuable 
portions, seldom tilled, some of them never cultivated, which were let to individuals, or 
used as common folds for the burgesses' cattle or sheep. Others were outfield portions 
of the twelfth-parts, belonging to the owners of particular intown portions. 

Beginning at the southmost meeting point of the Regality Dava lands with the 
Burgh Lands — Crofthead, the Heugh Butts, the Streamhead, and the Ducat Haugh and 

The Twal Pairt Lauds, 185 

Donbraes filled up the bank of the river Don, to the point where Killiewalker, an occa- 
sional water course lying between the Don and the Ury, is crossed to the great peninsula 
called the Stanners. The Royalty included the Broominch, lying in the Don, and, 
across the river, the Over Cable Haugh, between the stream and the barony of Crichie. 

Filling up the centre of the Stanners in an order from north to south, the Bearbutts, 
adjoining Killiewalker and the Kirkgreen — were followed by the Short Croft and 
Cairnbutts, in line with the Long Croft ; the Madder Yards lying south of the former 
while Goodman's Croft, Castle Croft, lay south of Long Croft ; a large patch of culti- 
vated Common Butts farther south completed the middle portions. Bound the river 
side the Coble Haugh and Cable Tack were upon the Don, with the Greenleyford, and 
the Feaseland, in continuation — on to the junction of the Ury with the Don. Along the 
Ury northwards, the Child Big, Dambutt, and Millbutt, separating the Broadbank from 
the river, conducted to the Castle Yards ; which occupied the broad north end of the 
Stanners containing the Castle Hill commonly called the Bass. 

Upwards, along the Ury from Killiewalker, small patches called Grant's Barrel, 
Gibbon's Butts, and the Sax Bigs, led to the meeting of the Lower Boods with the 
river ; which north of that point sweeps round an extensive haugh, almost level with the 
stream, called the Cruick, the north end of which is the Broadholme and the Horn 
Butts. The Bive Haugh, containing the Lint Butts, lies between the Cruick and the 
immemorial skating ground of the Inverurie school boys, the Currie, on Currie's Haugh. 
Gordon's Haugh next fills the space between the Boods and the Ury to the North Burn. 
Beyond the Burn the Souterford Haugh, marching with the great field of Longland 
Folds, reaches from Jossford to Souterford, where the high road to Old Meldrum 
crosses. The Boat Haugh there lies between the river and a mass of common lands 
called the Hungry Hill, the Scabbedley Folds and Faughs, and the Harps Haugh. The 
Puddockburn Butts are next on the river side, and the Willanwell Haugh which 
includes a Swandale Haugh. Patches of Boynds and Portstoun separate these from 
each other, and from the Sandyknow at the north-east corner of the Upper Haughs, 
where the Ury receives the Lochter Burn. The Ury, straightened in 1875, had formerly 
numerous sharp turnings on the north end of the haughs, one of which gave form to a 
rectangular little tongue of land called the Butt of Balhaggarty. Where the course of 
the Ury is again north and south, lay Johnnie Aukl, and Leslie's Horn, and the Coble 
Haugh, one north of the other until Howford and the boundary of the Boyalty was reached. 

Inside the bounding line of haughs now described, lay the Burghgate Folds, 
south of which came the Fouldub Folds, reaching nearly to the Content Butts. A 
wide central tract of uncultivated " Dava," called the Burgh Muir, lay west of these, 
skirted on the north and west by the Calfward, the Whiteleys, and Leslie's Croft, and 
on the south-west by the Corsfaulds, Middlemuir, and the Rutherfords ; while south of 
the Burgh Muir, the Gallowfold, of which the Broomfold was a part, filled up the space 
to the Upper Boods and Kellands, called in early deeds Keylands. Eastward of the 


186 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Gallowfold, Robin's Croft, now the east side of Constitution Street, adjoined the Bum- 
lands, of which Crosslit Croft was a part, opposite to which the Gallowslack Croft, 
afterwards called Porthead, lay close to the Upper Eoods. A later addition was Chelsea 
Croft in West High Street. 


The little burgh, rising into busy life, and asserting its vitality in Queen Mary's 
Charter of Novodamus, was not without a numerous population surrounding it in the 
parish, as well as in the Garioch generally. Badifurrow, with its "town" of Apollinaris' 
Chapel, as well as Colliston Croft and Woodhill, had many more homesteads upon it 
than it has now ; for then Bonnie Patrick Leslie of Kincraigie, living in the mansion 
house — if there was one — had around him families named Angus, Nuccoll, Smythe, 
Ledigen, Crombie, Bichie, Mackieson, Pirie, Donald, Glennie, and Bonald. 

A large diversity of family names had local habitations along the braes of 
Aquhorties, in its various towns of the Mill, Netherbiggin, Overtown, Muirhead, and 
the Manor-house. John Glennie died at the Mill of Aquhorties (long since obliterated), 
in 1616 ; and Gilbert Johnston ground corns and had annual christenings after him, 
from 1622, for a dozen years, until David Pirie succeeded him in both functions — their 
neighbour, John Anderson, nicknamed " Ginkin," weaving, and "William Crombie 
tailoring, for a host of Glennies, Snapes, Lightons, Weirs, Taylors, Robertsons* 
Hendersons, Andersons, &c, who surrounded them. 

In the three towns of Oldtown, Middletown, and Nethertown of Knockinglews, 
and the western brae of Upper and Nether Glascha and its Mill, the names of Watt, 
Dikkie, Thomson, Ronald, Lyon, Glennie, Mill, Davidson, and Lighton, were represented 
by parents and children ; and by occasional contracts of marriage, in which tochers were 
secured by bonds upon neighbouring properties. 

Drimmies, the property of William, and then of John, Gordon, and, in 1636, of 
Alexander Chalmers, had its proportion of households bearing the surnames of Melin, 
Black, Murdo, and Smith. 

Donalds, Blacks, Andersons, Whytes, Papes, Patersons, Smyths, and Wrights, and 
in later years, Strachans and Murdos, were christened and reared on Conglass. 

Crofthead, now part of Upperboat, was a small hamlet in which a family of 
Stephens were the principal people. 

Chapter VI. 


A Rural Burgh in 1600. — General nature of buildings, occupations 'and manners. Burgh Inci- 
dents. — Pasturing rules — Criminals — Brewing — Buildings — JVapinsehaw — The Plague — 
Sunday — The Eerd— Town's Charter — Ale Tasters — Offences and Punishments — Idlers. A 
Burgh Feud. — Contempt of Court — Protection policy — Quarrel with City of Aberdeen. The 
Leslies. Mr. Mill's Eegisters oe Births and Deaths. — Hills — Natural events — Records of 
character. Social Intercourse. — Resident and neighbouring Lairds — Two dashing Barons of 
Balguhain — Style of the Lairds. 


tHE period here selected for description, generally represents the duration of the 
first Episcopacy, and the continuance of Mr. Mill's incumbency. The Common- 
wealth and the domination of the Solemn League and Covenant came immediately 
after, and brought with them, without doubt, new conditions of life. It has to he 
marked, however, as illustrative of the manner wherein changes of very considerable con- 
sequence to a country, and which are to take their place in the works of subsequent 
Historians as the great events of the nation's life, pass over little noted in contemporary 
records, that the ordinary business of the rather busy burgh went on, during all the 
troubled 17th century, with hardly a notice of the great occurrences taking place in 
Church and State having been known there. 

The municipal town of Enrowrie, when its extant registers first let us see the 
manner of its life, was fitly describable by the appellation of an urbs in rure. 

Its single short street was sparsely studded with buildings, whose walls of drystone 
and turf, supporting low-thatched roofs, contained both the dwelling-house and shop of 
cordiners, tailzeours, fabers in wood or in iron, wabsters, browsters, and merchants. 
Barns and byres stood alongside most of the houses ; kilnbarns marking the several 
brew-houses that supplied the ale, which formed at that time an important article of food. 

Every artizan, or trader, lived as much by the plough and spade as by his urban 
calling. His house and shop stood on the end of his own burgh roods. These roods he 
laboured with his own hands ; and one of his most valuable interests was his rights, as 
a freeman, to the burgh pasturages; and, if he was a holder of " twelft-part" lands, or 

188 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

a renter of Dava lands, the privileges then attached to these agricultural possessions. 
Burgesses were occasionally fined for non-residence. 

The Dava lands, including the Kellands and the hill, were rented, from the Lord 
of Kegality, hy the magistrates, and re-let to indwellers. The fields and open pastures 
of the rest of the burgh lands formed commons, on which the burgh heritors and twelfth- 
part proprietors had right to graze a limited number of cattle and sheep, under the 
charge of a common herd. 

Agriculture having been the principal interest of the burghers, the routine business 
of the magistracy was confined to the regulation of the pasturage and the protection of 
crops ; fixing the duties of the common herd, aud his emoluments ; collecting the " Dava 
duties " or rents ; summoning the burgesses to the annual building and watching of the 
folds, and for the repair of the mill and its dam dyke, or mill lead or kiln, and of the 
road to the Kerunay moss ; which had, from time to time, to be put into a state to ad- 
mit of the primitive carts then in existence getting with safety through the Don at 
Ardtannies, and along the braes of Crichie and Bogfur. 

The burgh laws enacted, so far back as the 14th century, by the great burghs, still 
directed the principal municipal government. The rights of freemen were carefully 
conserved, and the common interest of the community protected from individual en- 
croachment. The staple article of provision, beer and ale, was annually appraised or 
taken proof of, by public tasters. The minimum strength of house walls and boundary 
dykes was regulated by statute. Strict limits were set to the extent of house accomo- 
dation which every burgh proprietor could erect for the purpose of letting ; and he was 
made responsible for his tenants having a sufficient provision of kail and peats. It is 
interesting to compare this precaution, taken against pauperism, with the burgh law 
recently in full force in the free city of Hamburgh, by which, licence to marry coidd be 
obtained only after security had been given that the parties had a certain income to 
live upon. Enactments of the same economical tendency prevented the harbouring of 
idlers, or of servants deserting tbeir engagements. 

Considerable rudeness of manners is recorded in the appropriate form of frequent 
complaint made, before the baillies, of assault, under the various descriptions of " ding- 
ing," " bluid drawing," and occasional "sticking with a durk," or sword. Inhibition, 
occasionally, had to be laid upon all the brewsters and ale sellers of the place against 
supplying drink to some unruly indweller, whose drunken and violent conduct had 
become " habit and repute ". No unusual occasion of rough dealing was supplied by 
" the moss," where people had annually to congregate, by summons, to prepare their 
winter's fuel; and complaints were often enough made, by individuals of the male 
gender, against the heavy hands of the gentler sex. Probably the complainers were 
crabbed dyspeptics of the sedentary occupations ; but the softer sex in Inverurie, at 
the time, was seasoned with a considerable proportion of "randies" — whose tongues 
were exercised upon their neighbours, and at times upon even a civic dignitary, 

Burgh Incidents. 189 

with a degree of freedom sufficient to bring them into trouble. Offences charged were 
frequently referred to the oath of the accused, but perjury never seems to have been 

The occurrence of using the dirk, in hasty quarrels between neighbours, indicates 
that that weapon was commonly worn at the time. The Wapinschaws ordained, at a 
later period, to be held everywhere, afford evidence of the extent to which personal 
armour was still used in the country. Inverurie, in 1608, could have furnished abun- 
dant materials for a picture such as those which commemorate the appearance of the 
historical Cavaliers and Eoundheads when equipped for fight. The kindred sight was 

not unexampled of 

The good old rule, the simple plan, 

That they shall take who have the power, 

And they shall keep who can. 

A case long occupied the bench of justice in the Burgh about the period now treated 
of, and proved rather too much for the strength of magistrates possessing only the social 
position held by the baillies then in office. It arose out of a piece of rural burglary — the 
cutting and violent awaytaking of a burgess's crop by a former town-clerk, who was 
supported by an armed band, partly furnished by the chief man of the neighbourhood — 
the Laird of Caskieben — himself afterwards Sheriff of the county, and a competitor for 
the honours of the peerage. 

In criminal law, municipal justice did not apparently go further, in the punishments 
inflicted, than banishment from the burgh ; but an instance of capital punishment is 
recorded in Mr. Mill's registers, when death by drowning was inflicted by the Sheriff. 

More satisfactory reading in the Inverurie papers exhibits sustained endeavours on 
the part of the burgesses, with the help of the neighbouring lairds and ministers, to 
establish and uphold in Inverurie a superior kind of school, affording instruction in 

Repeated burgh minutes also record something like head courts adopting resolutions, 
on the part of the community, for the purpose of constraining unruly and careless 
indwellers into respect for the ordinances of religion. The proceedings, as recorded, re- 
mind one of the present American Liquor Law of Maine, which is wished to be copied 
into the British Statute Book by some who would deem the Inverurie Head Courts 
against ungodliness an intolerable intermeddling with individual liberty. 


The following selection from the records of the Garioch municipal town give a 
somewhat realistic picture of the life led within a rural royal burgh in Scotland during 
the first twenty years of the seventeenth century : — 


1605, 1st June. — Patrick Leslie of Kincraigie, Normand Leslie, and Alexander Mackieson, 
bailies ; George Barclay, not. pub. and clerk. It is statute and ordeinit be the bailies with consent of 

190 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

the hail community that no twalff pairt man haiff rit or power to hold na mair nor sax nowlt, 
twenty scheip ; and every half twealff pairt half als mony, and that no tacksman to haiff power to 
hold ony mair but ane kow with ane follower, with sax scheip ; — except libertie he socht and obtained 
by ony freeman or ontacksman at the baillies and counsalls hands. And na tacksman lessand ane 
twalff pairt to hold any byhaimis except ane teddert beist upon their own hainit girs, and any person 
contravener of this to pay ffourtie sh. and so often to be dowbellit. 


28 June. — Wm. Stewin ordenit to take up the haill customs of our twa markets, Pollinar and 
Letter-Marieday, with the toft maill, and James Grub's few mail of Bransbutt ; for which he under- 
takes the chakker compt and to keep the towne skaithless at the hands of the lords of chakkir (the 
Lords of Exchequer). 


21 July. — Thomas Johnston, officer, accusit and convictit of troubling his neighbours, is deposed 
from his office. 


September. —Margaret Johnston, Margaret Wytman, and Elspet Rob, ilk ane convictit in 
judgment as infamous persons being baneisit the town of befor for unworthie demeritt, and newlie 
challencit for steilling of lint being spread upon the land, and that upon the last day of August — the 
magistrates, with consent of the haill inhabitants, decreit they be baneisit the town for ever, and 
every resetter of them to be fined 2 lbs. for the first fault and doubltt for every repetition. 


1 Nov. — All occupiers of the burrow lands or Dava lands sail big their pairt of the fauld this 
yeir in dew time ; as well the remover as the resident dweller, the remover to be satisfiet be the 
entering tenant for his troubill. 


1606, 3 July. — It is statut and ordanet that na breweris be within this bruch, bot thrie only— 
viz., Normand Leslie, William Fergus, and William Davidson, except everie to brew his own drink, 
under the pains of confiscation of ther haill guids and fourtie lbs. of penalties, and the present brewst to 
be confiscat and selt at the Cross ; lykwise, that na personne nor personnes, householders within the 
bruch, sail, fra this present hour foreward, resave na stranger nor passenger of na estate nor degrie 
within their house, under the pains of confiscation of ther haill geir. 

The said day it is statut and ordainit that everie twa householders beand free men within the 
town sail keep the hail town thair day about, under the pain of ten lbs. . . . And to begin at 
the south end of the bruch, on the east side of the samyn, at the house of Normand Leslie, and sua to 
continue ordeiiie in watch and ward as said is, qll. the samyn be dischargit be advyse of the bailies 
and counsall. 


19th August.— The haill inhabitants of the bruch of Inverurie comperit in judgment, and 
ther has giffen ther aiths, particularlie ilk ane for ther own pairts, that they will compeir at the next 
court after the harvest, after lawful warning thereto ; and purge themselffs, ther wyffs, bairnis, 
servauds within the hous, and sub-tenants haiffing houses of ther own, of uther men or nybor's cornis, 
lint, geis, or fowlis, peattis, kail, or cassin faill, or divotts. 


20th October. — Patrick Leslie of Kincraigie, Normand Leslie, and William Johnston resign 
their offices in the hands of the clerk. The Council choose as their successors for a year John 
Johnston of that Ilk, Patrick Leslie of Kincraigie, and Normand Leslie. William Robertson was 
elected treasurer, and John Johnston, William Johnston elder, Alexander Mackie, George Mackie, 
William Robertson, James Bainzie, persons of Council. 

The number of the baillies in the preceding century, and also after Patrick Leslie's 
death, in 1613, was two. Kincraigie had been taken into the magistracy as a man of 
weight ; and from the date of his election, as a third baillie, the business of the burgh 
seems to have been conducted with vigour. The other influential neighbour of the 
town, the Laird of Caskieben, was introduced in 1606, and continued for a year only, 

Burgh Incidents. 191 

attending but few meetings. The end to be served by bis election seems to have been 
the establishment of a Grammar School. 

George Barclay, clerk, resigned, and was re-elected for a year ; the Ufe tenure of 
his office was not then in use. The number of Councillors seems not to have been a 
uniformly fixed one. A case occurs in which an application, made and agreed to, for 
admission into the freedom, and into the office of Councillor, was on the ground that 
the applicant was the son of a baillie. The officials comprised one or sometimes two 
doomsters, and two officers, the clerk, and at times a clerk-depute, all elected for a year, 
— the depute for a shorter time. 


1607. — No person to cast faill or divott, nor futt fail nor turfs within the territorie of Inverurie, 
until sic tym as the persons of the couusell and bailies of the hruch convene and sicht everie man's 
necessitie, what everie man's need requires to serve his bigging, and the same to be restrictit be the 
said bailies and conseil where they may cast and how meikill. 

No yaird dykes or yairds or others be bigit bot of stein and mud till it be sax quarter heigh or 
heigher as they pleise, with only three gang of faill above the sam. 


The same day ane of the bailies with the counsell of the towne has passit throch the haill town : 

and has wisseit the greves (offences) of the towne, conform to ane auld order set doun be the 

bailies and conseill of the toun and has fund certain greves, viz., making of yeird middings, casting 

of reiskyerd forder nor they oueht to haiff downe, to wit John Eandal, John Angus, and George Grub. 


9th July. — All ewes within the toun to be milked at the buchts from this night furth. 

19th October. — Ane taxation to be raissit of merks for sending south to the parliament, 

the twa pairt to be raisit aff the ruids and the threid aff the common lands, to be given to Kincraigie, 
for payment of the said sowme being borrowit fra him. 


1608, 18th March. — No swine to be kept within the town except the owners keep them frae 
other men's skaith, either be corn, kell, or girs. 

It is statut and ordanit, in respect of the informalitie of Jou Rae being so often mistemperit he 
drink, that na browster give to the said John Eae nor sell him ony aill within ther hous, under pain 
of 40 shillings for ilk offence, 

John Angus complained upon William Johnston, son of Robert, for stricking him with ane rung 
at the But of Balhagartie. 


6th June. — At a court held within the Tolbuith by Patrick Leslie of Kincraigie ; Norman 
Leslie ; and John Johnston, bailie, 

John Robertson, found sufficient in arms, viz., knapska, plait steil, and sword ; the said John 
being ane barkar of craft. 

Alex. Smyth of the same craft siclyke. 

Wm, Fergus, ane horsman, sufficientlie in arms conform to the proclamation. 

Thomas, footman, sufficient in arms. 

John Ronald, futman, sufficient, conform to the proclamation. 

John Scot, sufficient futman, according to the proclamation. 

William Johnston, elder, horsman sufficient. 

Wm. Johnston, son to umqll Robert Johnston, ordanit to haiff ane jack, otherwise sufficient. 

Wm. Smith, craftsman, ordanit to haiff plaitstellis, otherwise sufficient. 

John Thomson, onsufficient in all things. 

Robert Tailyeour, found sufficient in armor, and ordeint to be ane horsman. 

Norman Leslie, found sufficient in hors and armor. » 

John Gib, fund sufficient, and ordenit to haiff plaitstellis. 

192 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

James Bainzie, in hors and armor sufficient. 

Alex. Fergus, in geir sufficient. 

John Johnston, bailie, hors and armour sufficient. 

Andrew Innes, ordanit to haiff sufficient armor. 

John Angus, fund sufficient in hors and armor. 

Andrew Hutcheon, ordeinit to be suffieientlie provydit. 

Wm, Porter, tailzeour, sufficient, ordeiut to haiff ane staff. 

George Grub, ane knapska, plaitstellis, sword, gauutlettes, and ordanit to be haiff ane ff 

Alex. Mackieson, in hors and geir. 

Wm. Chein, craftsman, sufficient. 

Wm. Robertson, absent. 

James Tailyeour, wright, sufficient in geir. 

Alex. Bainzie, sufficient in geir, and ordaint to haiff ane hors. 

Wm. Steven, officer, sufficient. 


Said day it is statut that all servands being vagabonds, and no wayis stapillit and fied to 
maisters, not to be Rscept be any within the towne at ludgiug or meitting, and who that giffis thame 
ludging to pay therefor ten lbs. for ilk night toties quoties. 


13 June. — The haill inhabitants ordeint to compeir at the Mill of Ardtannies on the 14 of 
this instaut, by sax hours of the morning, and that to pairt the mill water and big in the same. 


18 October. — No brewer be grantit to brew fra this day furth except Kormand Leslie, John 
Gib, Alexander Fergus, Wm. Davidson, and Wm. Ferguson. And thois persons only to be brewers 
during this trubsom tym of the plaig, and not anie of thame to be resetters of any strangers within 
their houses, without ane sufficient testimoniall producit to the bailies or minister of the towne. 

The said day Andrew Innes is permitted to brew with the rest. 

The Treasurer's accounts of the City of Aberdeen show 33s. 4d. allowed him, at 
this date, for horse hire, to go to Kintore and Inverurie, to try the truth of a report of 
the plague. 

In the election for 1608, the minister was chosen one of the Council, of which he 
was frequently a member afterwards. The oath administered to the municipal 
authorities no longer contained, as it did in 1580, a vow to maintain and defend the 
religion now established, but respected only the burgh privileges which they were taken 
bound not to conspire against. Norman Leslie died shortly after his election at 
Michaelmas of that year. 


1608, 25th October. — Alex. Bodwell and John Gib compeared in judgment and complained upon 
the not keeping of the fredome conform to the laws of burrows, and in speeiall for the sellers of roch 
ledder. It is statut that no burgess nor freeman within the town offer onie roch ledder to other crafts 
or dwellers without the town, or sell the same ; the sellers thereof sail be halden to pay for selling or 
offering of geir to be sould the sowme of toties qtcotics. And that 

nather beir, aitts, ledder, or uther , be offert first to the Indwellers and freemen within the 

said bruch, and to be sauld to ony within the towne willing to by, of sic pryces as the same is sauld 
to uthers. And giff it sail hapen ony geir be sauld better schaip to uther men, nor it is offert to 
thame within the towne, the sellers thereof to be holden to pay the sowme above written; 


30 November. — It is statut and ordeinit be the bailzies consall and inhabitants of the 
town that the haill inhabitants of the toune sail convene baith at preaching and prayer. And na 
drink to be sauld befor the same, and whosomever contravenes the samyn, ether be selling of drink, 
or drynking before preaching, or absenting themselffs, sail, ilk person, pay toties quoties, without ane 
lawful excuse admittet be the session sail pay sex sh. 8d. Whereon Mr. James Mill, minister, took 

Burgh Incidents. 193 

act of Court, and instructit and ordeint the kirk officer to concur with the town officer for poynding 
and uptaking of the soumes. 


The said day it is statut and ordeinit be the bailzies and eonsall of the bruch, that George 
Mackie sail gang to the laird of Drum, and ileal] with him for payment of the teind wittall to be 
payit at this term : And for the said George Mackie his recompense for his travell, because he is but 
ane of the towne and doan the cowmond turn, the said bailzies ordenis the persons under written to 
help the said George Mackie with their hors in mucking ane day quam primum, viz., the haill 
inhabitants within the town benorth the said George Maekie's dwelling. 

Irvine, laird of Drum, was then tacksman of the teinds, under a lease from 
the Commendator of Lindores. George's dwelling was, it is likely, opposite the present 
Parish Church. 

The said day James Tailzeour is decernit to mak ane bed and ane chair according to the 
pactiouuis, viz., Win. Cheinis bed and Win. Grub's chair, and deliver the same to Wm. Smyth within 
term of law, under pain of poynding for the sowme of ten merks monie. 


6th December.— Mr. James Mill, minister, gave in ane brief of inquest finding George Leslie 
heir to his brother Normand Leslie. 

George Leslie, a minor, was the half brother of Norman Leslie. The minister 
married George's mother, in her widowhood. He became George Leslie of Eothmaise, 
and after 1640 was, for a time, chief badlie of the burgh. He was the builder of the 
first stone and lime dwelling house in Inverurie — named, in consequence, Stone House. 


1609 — 31st January. — The setters of houses by consent of bailies and eonsall to be fined 10 lbs. 
each, viz., Alex. Bainzie, James Grub, Thomas Smyth, Andrew Hutcheon, for twa tenants ; George 
Mackie, for Barbara Inging, Isabella Malan ; William Reid, for setting of John Rae ; Robert Tailyor, 
for setting of Janet Fergus ; James Andrew, for re-setting of ane baneist person. 

20th April. — The bailies and eonsall tolerate James Andrew to take home his dochter, and her 
husband, in household with them at Whitsunday next. 


14th April. — Statut by the bailzies, with the consent of the haill inhabitants for the maist 
pairt, —That the haill guids within the town of Inverurie sail pay to the cowmond herd for everie beast, 
except the hairst milk ky with their followers, ane peek of meill, and everie auld sheep 12d., and for 
everie hog 6d. But the ontaxinen to pay for their milk ky pro rata, because they haill' na hainit girs 
of their own to keep their ky. 

William Jack is admittit cowmond herd for this year, to keep baith sheip and nowdt qll (until) 
Michalday next or trewillday next ; for the keeping of the qlk guids the said William sail haiff for ilk 
week four pecks meill mett with ane peck, with ten merks silver for the scheip ; and that at three 
terms, viz., ane threid at midsymer, ane threid at lames, and the last threid at trewilday, with ilk 
twall pairt ane led of peitts, to be led to the said William Jack's house. And as to the onfreemen ; to 
be sensurit be the counsall what they sail pay of peitts to the bird ; and the said bird has giffen his aith 
to be ane sufficient bird and puudler till the corne be iu the yairds. 


13th May.— John Mackieson, son to Alexander Mackieson, and William Johnston, son to 
Robert Johnston, has submitted the action of bluid depending betwixt them to meutuall friends, viz: — 
for John Mackieson, John Leslie, Baleairn, and Gilbert Johnston of Muirtou : and on the part of 
William Johnston, John Leslie of Largie, and Walter Inues ; who are to convene at the Kirk of 
Inverurie, 16th instant, and decide the same. 


26th May. — Ordeinit that the weitt fauld be biggit and hainit betwit tliis and the elevent day of 


194 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioeh. 

June next, to the effect that the car may be keipit therein from polliuar day furth : And na uther hors 
nor beast be put therein until the hairst begin. 

Fra this nicht furth everie twa twalt pairts men, and evry twa Davanch men, their nyt about sail, 
gang and vissie and sicht baith corns and liainit girs until the corns be begun to scheir ; and the said 
persons to haiff power to poynd any trespasser. 


25th October. — Patrick Leslie, John Johnston, and George Mackie are elected and chosen 
bailzies for the year ; Wm. Johnston, elder, Wm. Robertson, James Bainzie, Mr. James Mill, and 
Win. Randall, persons of Consall ; George Barclay, not pub., cowmond clerk for a year ; "Wm. Stewin, 
and Thomas Fergus, officers ; and Thomas Johnston, alias Commissar, Dowmster. 

1610, 26th Apryle.— John Mackie gave in ane suit for to be accepit as ane of the numer of the 
senate and of the consall of the bruch, conform to the order of the town, and that because he is the son 
of ane magistrate, and is willing to do therein according to their judgment. 

Item. — "William Johnston younger, son to John Johnston, gaiff in the lyk suit ; which persons be 
the cowmond wreitt of the bailzies and persons of consall are admittit consallers conjunct with the rest. 

The said day George Leslie of Crichie, Alex. Hervie in Inverurie, and George Leslie, pupill, gaiff 
in their several bills for to be admittet burgesses. 

The set of the burgh — if there was one — evidently did not precisely define the 
number of the council ; nor were minors ineligible to the rank of burgesses, as the 
above entry shows. 


15th May. — Contiuuit the bills of George Leslie of Crichie, George Leslie, pupill, brother 
German to umnuhill Norman Leslie, And Alexander Hervie : After mature deliberation it is found 
that said persons audit not to become burgessis of the said bruch, nor their suit grantit, till the said 
persons ather be themselfis, or be their tutoris and curators, conform to the conditions following, viz. — 
the said George Leslie of Crichie merche with the said brach, and sett perfyt division betwix the 
proper bunds of Crichie and the cowmond lands of the said bruch ; And also to infeft the said inhabi- 
tants in the peit gett, as the said was propit of Auld : George Leslie, pupill, and his curatoris and 
tutors, to giff and deliver to the town's bailzies and consall the town's charters and principal wreatts, 
the wliilk was in the keeping of the said umquhill Norman, and within his possession the tym of his 
deceis : Or other ways cais (i.e. cause) the said wreatts extract out of the register, and bring it hame as 
said is ; And for performance thereof, ilk ane the saids tutors and curatoris to gyff and subscribe ane 
sufficient obligation for the soume of ane thousand pounds. 

Alexander Hervie had married Janet Leslie — Norman Leslie's widow. He became, 
in a few years, a principal member of council, and head of a faction opposed to that of 
the Johnstons. His social importance procured his being made a baillie on his first 
entrance into the council. George Leslie of Crichie was a brother of the laird of 
"Wardes; Crichie was conveyed to him in 1607; and in 1616, to Lord Elpbinstone. 
The Novodamus Charter of Queen Mary was given up in 1613, 16th March to George 
M'Kie, the treasurer, by Andrew Leslie of New Leslie, uncle of young George Leslie. 


21 July. — None allowed to feed or seiner girs on the haughs fra this day furth. 


Said day it is statut and ordeinit that payers of the toft maill, otherways callit the King's few 
dewtie, who do not pay the same this day be six hours at even, be answerable lor the King's uulaws. 


22 October. — Curia capitalis tenia in praitorio, &c, Comperit Patrick Leslie, John Johnston, 
and George Mackie, bailzies, and freely dischargit thame of their offices of bailzies, and jurisdiction 
thereof, be deliverance of the wand in the hands of the clerk and consall. 

Burgh Incidents. 195 


4 December. — Ordeinit a taxation of three pennies be taken upo ilk lang mid in Inverurie, 
. according to the sett and rentall of the tiend, for bringing of the milne dore. 


Said day it is statute and ordainit that the brayfauld of the Gallowfauld be dykit and sawin with 
the breim. 


The said day John Ronald, Wm. Fergus, Wm. Johnrstowne, yoimger, and John Angus, are 
appointit taisters funsters of aill within the bruch, wliilk persons sail everio oulk anee visie the 
taverners and their hous, and sett such prices on the aill as they think the samyn worth on their 
consciences. And that they be dewdy advertisit be the brewsteris when the samyn are staill And 
thereafter that ane or twa of thame pas within the lions wdier the aill is, and draw furthe of ony stand 
or bowie he lyke ane chapiu aill, and carie the saime furthe to ther nybors taisters to be taistit and 
valuet. And that finalie thereafter, befoir ony com to drink ony of the aill within the said hous, 
they giff furthe the pryce of the aill. And whosoever resaves ony gryter price nor the taisters Impoiss, 
they are to be in amerceament of fourtie sh. for ilk browst. And so often as they happen to brew and 
hous staill aill, the parties advertise the taisters to com ami put ane pryce thereon befoir ony be sauld, 
under the pains forsaid ; and who evere refuses to gif lawful obedience to the funsters or Bailis, and 
upbraidis them in word or deid, publicklie or privatlie, to be Imeditle poyndit for the said penaltie, 
Anil the samyn to be employit to the particular weill of the funsters. 

1612, 28 Januar. — In respect of ane ha;, nous complaint giffen in by John Ronald upon Wm. 
Ronald, his son, for troubling and molesting him, and putting hand on his father, within his hous, as 
also troubling of dyvers persons within the toun. . . . It is statnt and ordeinit be the bailzie that 
na browster in the toun, frae this day furthe, sell ony aill to the said William Ronald, to be drunken 
within their own hous. 

August.— Every twalf pairt within the bruch sail be haulden to pay to John Wischert, 
common herd, twa pecks meill, for the whilk he sail four heid of nowt ; and whatsomever 

possessor of the twelf pts. hed ane greater number of yauds, to pay for ilk heid of the superflus ane peck 
meil. Lyk as ilk ane of the and indwallers of the bruch shall be haulden to pay ane peek 

meal for ilk pare of their cattels whilk pasture in the common herd, togedder with ane cart full of 
peitts, of ilk househaulder who hav horse passing to the moss ; And failing of the cartful of peitts, 
sax sh. the pryce of the peek meill sex sh. audit pence. 


No futt faill to be casten upon the burrowfauld of the bruch, from this day furth, whether to big 
slapis or dykes, or ground middingis, under the poinne of ten pounds. 


19 June. — Compeirit Alex. Stiven, son to umquhil John Stevin, barges of the bruch, aud gave in 
ane complaint against Alexander Bodwill and Isobel Chapman, for wrong and molest and bluid- 
drawing upon him and his spouse Jeane Keith, the said Alexander his richt leg, and the said Jeane 
her hed and brow. 

12 Deer. — Janet Johnston, spouse to Andrew Hutcheon, fined 10 sh. for bluid-drawing of Normand 
Hutcheon, her son-in-law. 

Margaret Mackieson is ordaint to big ane cassie, the bred of her toft beginning at John Ronald 
his house, and Wm. Fergus toft, the bred four futt in all pairtis sufficientlie sairt and cassiet, 
betwixt and the aucht day of Januar next, under pain of 10 lbs. money. 

1613, 4 Feb. — John Mackieson complainit upon George Grubb, for raising of certain merch 
staues betwixt their lauds. 

18 June. — William Johnston, alias Kelt, fined 4 lbs. for putting of violent hauld on Andrew 
Gib, in presence of the bailies. 

29 June. — Ordeint in respect of the disobedience of Wm. Johnston, son of Robert, that he sail 
no ways bring peitts or fewall furth of the moss designit mercht aud appointed to the inhabitants of 
the bruch, without licence and consent of the magistrates, under pain of tinsel of his freedom, and 10 
lbs. money for wrong and onlay (fine). 

196 Inverurie and the Earldom of the. Garioch. 

. . . For every calf found within the bruch, the apprender to receive from the owner 6sh. 8d. 
toties quoties. 

No geis to be found from this day within the bruch under pain of 10 sh., and if the geis be put 
in a hous the onlay to be added. 

27 July. — Statute that whatsomever inhabitants of this bruch resettis, maintains, or gifes 
meat or drink, or hospitalitie and retreat to any nybors trends, indwellers within the same, passing 
from their maister's service, shall be poyndit for ten lbs. monie, toties quoties, the ane half to the 
pairtie offendit, the other to the bruch. 

5 October.— John Mackieson complains upon Geo. Grub, for the slauchter of ane guise 
poyndit be him, allegit commitit be the said George, his wife, and woman servant, be hounding of 
ane dog. 


5 October.— Robert Fergus, John Thamson, John Gib, Alex. Fergus, John Clerk, Win. 
Davidson, Wm. Fergus, Geo. Smyth, and John Stevin, brewsters and ail-sellers, sucken to the mill, 
are decreit to put up the malt wall of the mill sufficientlie, with stack and clay doub, at the sicht of 
Walter Innes of Ardtannies within aucht days. 


1614, 6th November. — Ordeint that na aill be sauld fra this day furth darer nor 12d the pynt, 
under the pain of . . . sh. toties quoties and that na brewster saill aill with ony met, lowme, 
stoup, or coig, bat with sick as ar seilit with the cowmond seill of the town. [The ale was raised to 
16 pennies in the following February, and the beer to 18, by statute.] 


15th November. — James Hill, James Hutcheon, and John Fergus, cordiners, sail not cut 
ony new lether from this day furth, under penaltie of ten shs., until they mak themselves freemen of 
the said craft. 


No tavern within this town to sell aill to ony person behind the nyn hours at even, under the 
pain of ten shs., and giff ony towne's peopill beis found wagand on the gaitt after the hour of ten, the 
person fund wagand sail be poyndt as if they wer wagands. 


1615, 3 January. — Statute and ordeint thattheSabothebehaden and keepit be the haill indwalleris 
of this bruch, in keeping of the kirk before noon at preaching or prayers, and efternoon at the 
evening prayers, under the pain of sex schillings money, to be exact of ilk contravener, the maister 
of familie, or unoccupied domestick. And sicklykes, that na person outwith the aig of fourteen yeris, 
be fund at the futball on the Sabothe days. 


14 February. — The said day George Mackie is become caution that Alex. Fergus, younger, sail 
compeir before the minister and session and obey the discipline of the kirk, according to the will of 
the minister and session, in all the whilk the said minister and session choose to enquire. 


14th March. — Statute and ordeint for purging of this bruch from evill memberis ydellars, 
not haiflng moyen and Industrie to sustain themselns honestlie, without damage to the common walthe 
and members thereof : that it sail not be lesum to ony burghes or Indwaller, of whatsomever station or 
condition they be, to sett upon ther possessions or onsteds inwithe this bruch ony girsman, cottar, or 
bot That thae and like ane of thame fulfil and keep the particular rente set down to every ane 

of thame in manner following — That is to say that Alex. Hervie sail be ony licentiate to haif on his 
possession ane cottar, and ane girsman or gras house kindlinge only twa fyres ; John Badyeno younger, 
ane ; Alex. Fergus, ane ; Mr. James Mill, ane ; John Jackson, ane ; George Mackieson, ane ; George 
Grub, ane croftsman allenarlie ; John Mackieson, ane ; William Robertsone, ane ; Wm. Fergus, ane ; 
John and William Ronald, ane croftsman ; Wm. Jonston, alias Robert's Willie, and Robert Tailyour, 
ane ; Wm. Stevin, ane ; Whilkis, particular persons above rehersit sail be anseribill, ilk ane 
respectivelie, to furneis their own tenants conform to their desiguation, with sufficiency of kaill and 
peittis, be the sicht of visitors to be appoyntit for that effect, who sail sicht the biggings and furniter 
upon the tent of August. 


14th March. — John Ronald fined for wrongous troubling and dinging of James Hutcheon, 

A Burgh Fetid. 197 

within the yaird of the said James Hutcheon, and missmacking and spoilling of the new sawn beddis 
and skailling of the seids, as was judiciallie proven. 

1 July. — Ordeiut that William Ronald sail keip his own house in mieting and susteuta- 
tion of himself, and not to drink in the ostlar house ; and gyff the said William Ronald, from this 
time furth, be found drinking in the ostlar house the said Wm. sail be poyndit for fourtie sh., and 
the browster with whom he drinks four punds. 

18th July. — Robert Fergus, Janet Thomson, Alex. Barclay, Thomas Johnston, and John Fergus 
ilk ane of them convictit for break of the former Act, maid anent selling of aill to Wm. Ronald. 
Each fined 4 lbs. and Wm. Ronald 40 sh. to the common good, and 40 sh. to the bailies. The same 
day Wm. Ronald sought law burrows against his father. 

18 July. — Ordeint that whatsomever person bringis not in ther kirk hedder, according to fyve 
thraive ilk twall ruids, and fyve thraive ilk twalff pairt, sail be poyndit ten lbs. monie. [This order was 
supplemented 21 July.] The inhabitants of Inverurie ilk ane of them sail inbring, to the kirk, half als 
meikill hedder as they have done alreddie, and that upon the last day of present instant under pain 
of 10 lbs. 


21 July. — Ordeint that no man or inhabitant receipt, nor receive, Wm. Johnston, servitor 
to John Johnston, either by day or uicht, under penalty of 40 sh. Mies quolies. 

4 Aug. — No hors to be out of the hous fra this nicht forth, except it be within his own proper 
girs : And in especiall Middlemuir, Whitleys, and Weetsweils. 

The act anent the cruiffing of fowlis, geis, and swyn is ratifiet, approvit, and confirmit, with the 
addition that it sail be lesum to fell, or ston, them, by (without) the owner's permission. 

Whosoever be challencit or apprehendit within the yairds, outsides, or on the dykes thereof, 
cutting, barking, or demolishing, or destroying, the plantit wood or herbs, within the 

said yairdis, sail be immediatlie poyndit 5 merks. 

9 Sept. — No inhabitant to give to his bestiall, ayther be nyt or day, any cornis, ayther of their 
own or uther menis, in tyme of harvest, or until the cornis be put halelie within dykes. 


24 August. — Sasine, upon Charter under the Great Seal, in favour of George Johnston of that 
Ilk and Caskieben, and Elisabeth Forbes, his spouse, of the lands of Johnston and the Mill ; 
Caskieben, with the tower, fortalice, manor, orchards, and gardens thereof ; Mill of Caskieben ; and 
towns of Ingliston, Isaackstoun, or Jackstoun, Mill called Pettiesmill, Leggat, Fawels eighth part of 
Ardoun, half lands of Crimond, and mill and mill lands of the same, all lying within the barony of 
Johnston ; also of the lands of Boynds, Porterstoun, Bendauch, Begsley, Craig, Corshill, Buchthills, 
Standiustanes, Sleepiehillock, Woodhead, Overtoun of Dyce, Boginjoss, and Pleyheuchs. 


The magisterial bench had lost its social prestige by the death of Kincraigie and 
the good John Johnston of Caskieben. Alexander Hervie who married Norman Leslie's 
widow, had acquired some consequence, as administrator of that relict's life-rent in 
her first husband's large burgh property. Hervie appears to have been disliked by the 
Johnstons — long the burgh great people — and not reverenced by the officials who had 
served under the influential magistrates above-named. Alexander Hervie and Wdliam 
Johnston, junior, were bailies from 1613 to 1614. Next year they were replaced by 
the elder Johnston and John Bainzie, a member of the ancient family of Badynoch — 
denominated " right worshipful men ". During that year a riot of extraordinary 
character occurred — partly meant to annoy Baillie Hervie — which merits notice on 
account of the parties concerned in it, as well as from its graphic exhibition of the state 
of society, and the glimpse it gives of the tenure by which the common lands were held 
some time before. The chief rioter was the town clerk, and his principal abettors 

198 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

were a former baillie and the Laird of Caskieben, who had, shortly before, succeeded 
his father, John Johnston, in the family estate. 

1615, 16 Sept. — Court : BailHes — William Johnston, elder ; John Bainzie, younger ; Bobert 
Fergus and AVilliam Stewin, officers ; and Wm. Johnston, son to umquhile Alexander Johnston, 
Dowmster. Comperit— Alexander Hervie, John Johnston, John Bainzie, younger, and compleinit 
upone William Botsone and John Mackieson, eomburgeises of this brouch, that quhain they, accom- 
paniet with the laird of Caskieben, his servands and friendis, Bodin in fear of weir and convocation of 
the Kingis legis, with Jackis, steill bonnetis, speiris, lances, and swourdis, this day forsaid, bein the 
sixtein day of September above wretin, came to their proper lands callit the Cowmonttie of Curries 
Hauch ; and these schore and led away, and with horse and nowlt eit and destroyit, their cornis 
growing in and upon the saids lands. And mr fullie led away and put thereof to the Mains of 
Caskieben ; quhilk deid was done as they allegit under silence of nyt, at lest before the sone rysing 
ane hour or thereby. [The baillies appointed a trial to take place some days afterwards.] 

22 Sept. — Compeirit anent the action of allegit sheiring comitit by the persons contenit 
on ane bill gifin in be the saids persons above wreitin against the defenders therein contenit, whereof 
the tenor follows : — Unto your wisdomes huniblie meins and complains Mr. Alexander Hervie, John 
Johnston, William Johnston, his son, and John Benzie, ane of the baillies of this bruch, upon George 
Johnston of Caskieben, Wm. Bobertson and John Mackieson, burgesses of this bruch, — that they 
upon Setterday last, the sixtein day of this instant September, under silence of nyt, at lest before sone 
rysing, they and their complcssis, with convocation of the King's legis, boden in fear of weir, with lang 
staves and speirs, lancis, swordis, and steell bonnetis, came to the cowmond land of Inverowrie, callit 
the cowmontie of Curries Hauch, and there cuttit, sehure, tuik away at their plesure, our cornis of the 
saids lands ; aud convenit horse and nowlt, eit and destroyit the rest thereof, to our heavie hurt and 
skaith in manifest contempt of His Majestie his Highnpss laws, And evil example to uthers, 
neighbours of this bruich, to do the lyk in tym coming ; quhilk giff it become ane cowmond practice 
to uthers, barones and nyhbours without this bruch, and within, may turne to the utter wrak, and 
thereof, not onlie to particular persons bot to the haill inhabitants of the bruch 
without Kemeid be provydit. 

Mackieson was the late Town Clerk, and Robertson had recently been a baillie. 
They appeared for the accused, and gave in a number of defences, denying the juris- 
diction of the court, and claiming the lands as their own. The baillies repelled their 
defence ; ordered the defenders to produce their evidents, and fined them 20 merks 
each, besides the value of the property taken away. The defenders gave in pleadings, 
but continued insubordinate. 


10 Oct. — Statut that the haill inhabitants of this bruch, sail immediatelye after the rysing 
of this court pass presentlie to the mill, and bring in faill and stanis to the mill watter, And the 
haill taxmen to have horse and cartis, and the untaxmen to have fut spades. 

14 Oct. — No swyne to be permitted to be kept outwith the house of the owners. 


Statement given in by John Mackieson, as procurator for the defenders, including himself. 

The possessors of the cowmontie were in use to part and cavaill the same be equal divisions. 
That umquhil, Wm. Leslie, umquhile James Fergus and John Johnston, possessors for the time of the 
sun half of the Cruik, finding themselves to have the better part, howso the same came in their 
possession by ane cavel ; and after the occupation thereof at the expiry of the year or years of cavel 
being desired by umquhile John Bobertson, umquhile Wm. Thomson, umquhile John Banzie, and 
umquhile Walter Banzie, the possessors of the shaddow half of the said lands to part cavel and divide 
of new again, refused alloterlie to do the same ; but granted to anex eik and to the shaddow 

half of the said Cruik ane piece of land, to make the shaddow half so good as the sun half. And for 
the effect assigned, the cowmontie and Curries Hauch to be adjoinit to the said shaddow half there- 
with, aye and until there happened ane new partesing of the haill lands of the bruch. 

The above written possessors of the shadow half lands, accepting the said augmentation, 
intromittit with the same ; which cowmontie of Curries Hauch they and their successors possessit still 
aye and until the time of the wadsetting thereof to John Bonald and John Grub. And the umquhile 

A Dunjh Feud. 109 

possessors of the Sim half neither by themselves nor their snecessoris, neither yet John Johnston, who 
enterit never thereafter with the said conimontie, neither had the possession of the same 
since the time of the wadset. (Signed) John Mackieson : Wm, Robertson. 

Deposition of John Johnston. That lang sene, be the space of thretie years and mair, they were 
in use to cavel the cowmontie, but never sin syne, and was ordeinit and pairtit so to stand in all 
tyme coming as it now stands, and everie one to have their own rig in the said cowmontie of Currie's 
Hauch, As well the possessors of the sun half of the said lands, as the possessors of the shadow. 

That the cowmontie of Currie's Hauch was never grantit to be adjoinit to the shaddow half of 
the Cruik ; Albeit, the same was craved by the possessors of the shadow half of the Cruik, But everie 
one kept their own rig of the cowmontie of Currie's Hauch, both sun and shadow possessors. 

That the occupants of the shadow half of the Cruik had never the occupation nor possession of 
the sun half of the said cowmontie of Currie's Hauch before the wadset. 

Deposition of James Benzie as before. 

Deposition of John Benzie. Being but a young man remembers nothing of the sun side of the 
lands coming into cavelling. He remembers none that the sun half of Currie's Hauch was ever given 
to the shadow half. He never saw the possessors of the shadow half lands in possession of the sun 
half of the cowmontie of Curries's Hauch. 

The court found that the pursuers and defenders should each have an entrie to their own rigs, 
and the defenders are liable to the pursuers for bolls of white oats. 


19 Oct. — Ordaiued by the bailies, with advice of the haill counsel, except onlie John Mackie- 
son, that the bailies now present sail have the haill onlays fallen in their time, accordinge to the 
modification presentlie set down. 


30 Oct. — Court : Assault by Wm. Ronald, upon Thomas Johnston, on Sabbath, at even, the 
20th instant : Proved by witnesses that Wm. Ronald, accompanied by Alex. Fergus, younger, came 
to Thomas Johnstou's house at night, and called for drink, and would have compelled him to give 
it to them, and likewise offered to ding John Ronald, father to the said William. And the said 
Thomas commanding them to his door, and to give him God's peace and the King's, they fell on 
him and dang, oppressed him and bled him, within his own house, and upon the King's gaitt. And 
that said Thomas goiug to complain to the magistrates, the said William Ronald, accompanied by the 
said Alexander Fergus, the said Thomas back coming to his own house, sett on him again, dang and 
oppressit him : Fined 5 punds. 

1616., Feb. 14. — James Hutcheon decernit to restore to Alex. Mackieson ane sword of the said 
Alexr. presentlie ; and decerns the said Alexr. to deliver to the said James nine shilling four pennies 
bebursit by the said James to ane Wilkieson. 


16th March.— The bailies and consal, with consent of the most part of the possessors of the 
common lands, anent of that part of the haughs of Inverowrie, which is over the water 

of Urie, lying adjacent to the lands of Balhagartie, For eschewing of confusion among the haill 
neighbours, possessors of 1he said lands, The bailies, with advice present decerns and ordeins that 
everie single possessor of the said haill twelfth part sail conven upon the said lands and ground thereof, 
,, and there sail be the bailies forsaid, and perfatalie sett down to everie twelft pairt and everie 



19 March.— Ordeint by the bailies, with full consent of the persons of the counsal, and haill 
consent of the haill bodie of the toun, That all the haill Inhabitants of the toune sail convene every 
Sabothe efternoon before three hours efteruoou, and there to remain until the prayers be eudit ; and 
when there bides away any man or wyfT or serwand at the said hour, ilk person to be poyndid for aucht 
sh. toties qiwtics, and the soume to be doublit ay as aft as the happen to break order as said is. Mr. 
James Mill took act of court. 

8th April. — The said day it is statut and ordeint be the bailzies, with advyce of the consall, be 
virtew of ane warraud grantit be our Sovran Lord, And his henis' consall, Be the whilk ther is 
decreet contenand proclamation of ane weeklie market upon Wednesday within this bruch of Inverurie ; 
for the whilk rasous Alex. Hervie and Wm. Johnston, elders, bailies of this bruch, decreitis this 

200 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

present with the berer hereof To mack publication and proclamation of the forsaid market to hold 
everie Wednesday weeklie as said is : The said publication to be maid be the berer forsaid in all places 
necessar, Bayth in cowmond markets and at paroch Kirks, And bruchs, within the Shrefdom of Aber- 
deen. And for the better Weill "and comodite of our sovran lords legis, who pleiss to repair to the 
markett forsaid, They sail have all kinds of wairs whilk they please to put within the said bruch of 
Inverurie to by and sell, on fallin custome, for the space of twa years next and Immedeatlie following 
this present Wednesday next the seventeen of this instant, Apryll, 1616 years. 


14th May. — All inhabitants who have hors, sail yok ane hors be six hours on the morning the 
15th day of May, and bring in and lead faill and divotts to the herds hous ; And also they that has 
not hors to yok, to be thair tharneselffs to bigg the said hous. 


2 April. — Ordenit that George Wightman, herd, sail enter baith with seheip and nowlt upon the 
third day of this instant Apryll ; and the said George shall have for keeping of the nowlt and sheip 
ane hadish meill of everie house having nowlt or sheip, ilk day until the three day of May next. 

1st June. — No inhabitants sail bring any sheip to the hous, either to be milkit or otherwise, fra 
this time furth, except to be clippit, or to Spain the lambis, but not to be kept or holdin fra the fauld 
till the said lambis be fully spainit, but only to tak them up, and the said lambs to be put out of the 
town and spaint ; and wha that taks hame the yowes or other sheep, and breaks this . . . sail be 
rinet 40 sh. 

Likewise the buchts ordainted to be biggit at the outfields for milking. 

No horse nor novvte be led or fed upon banks, waterside, or lochs within haining fra this tiuie 
furth, within corns, and especially within hammock of the haughs, Barnskell, Weitfaulds, and Schaw- 


5th June. — All craftsmen within the bruch, sic as cordiners, coupers, and other craftis, upon 
everie Wednesday or ordinarie market day, sail set furth and bring to merkat to be sauld, or at least 
presentit and offered to be sauld, ony geir they may have to be sauld. If they do not they are to be 
outlawit for 40 sh., toties quoties. 


Margaret Chalmers, spouse to William Stephen, convictit for blaspheming Alex. Hervie, bailzie, be 
outrageous language against him being a magistrate, condemnit 1. to appear presentlie in visage of the 
Court, and ask the said Alex. Hervie magistrate's forgiveness, upon her bair knees, in the presence of 
the haill Court : 2. To compeir upon Sunday next within the Kirk of Inverurie, and sail set on the 
stool of repentance the time of preening, and sail crave first God her sin, and the said Alex. Hervie 
his forgiveness, and haill congregation, for her offence comittit against the said Alex. Hervie. 


19th June. — Ordeint that na person big fire house nor chalmers but they be fundit with stein 
ane ell hyt round about, and then to get mud and faill to serve the rest of the house. 


Ordeint that thair be ane out of everie reikand hous come and convene at sex hours the morn, 
the twenti day of this instant, At the peit third, to stain the fuird, and stain the gett, and big in the « 
cowmond watter of the mill dam, and to mak cart gett sufficientlie red to the moss fra that furth. 


24 August— The court of Inverurie, holden within the tolbuith of the same, the twentie-fourt 
day of August, 1616 years, Be Wm. Johnston, and Alex. Hervie, bailies ; George Barclay, and 
Mr. George Hervie, notary publick, clerks ; Wm. Stevin, and Robert Fergus, officers ; and Thomas 
Johnston, dowmster. The sectis callit, the court lawfullie fensit and affirmit. 

The said day compeirit Alexander Hervie, bailzie of Inverurie, and having in his hands the 
court buik of Inverurie, reddie to produce the same, according to the chairge giffin to him for 
exhibition of the said buik ; But refusit to deliver the said buik to John Mackieson, cowmond clerk of 
Fraser's-bruch, who can not be clerk in Inverurie dwelling in Fraser-bruch, in respect of the distance 
of the places, And come no ways to serve our use sen our last election : That George Barclay, not. 
public, was chusen cowmond clerk, till now, that within this few days, the said Jon. came to this 
town to foster sedition and insurrection in our towne for girling away of the cowmond lands to Wm. 

A Burgh Feud. 201 

Johnston, elder bailzie, of our brnch, whilk is like to come to the utter wrack and ruing of the samyn, 
whereupon the said Alex. Hervie tuik Act of Court and Instrument. 

Syklyk the said John Mackieson, upon the tent day of August instant, came to our Court, and 
there wald gilt' no silense, but rais up, with sword and gauntlet, braiging and minassing the said 
Alex. Hervie, bailzie, George Barclay, clerk, and Mr. James Mill, our pastour, who came to gitf their 
consall for sattling of the cowmond affairs of the towne, according to conscience and justice, The said 
Jou. being commandit silence oft-tymes, — In his M. name and authoritie of the bailzies ; And sua 
raisit sic ane tumult and parturbatiou into the court, being lawfullie fensit and ahirmit, that na justice 
culd proeeid ; desyriug, or rather commanding, to gif him aue act that he was chosen and electit pr. 
for the commuuitie and cowmond caus of the towne ; whilk the haill burgesses of the towne, Except 
five or sex in numer whilk the other bailzie, Win. Johnston, and the said Jon. Mackieson haid seducit, 
Kaiss up and plainlie oppouit agains the samyn ; And therefor the bailie, Alex. Hervie, with advyse 
of the haill body of the town feuers, disolvit the said court and comandit that nane war sae pervert as 
to brak his M. paice under all pain and chairge that after may follow for the whilk cause. The said 
Alex. Hervie being removit and the haill bodie of the town, the said Win, Johnston, the uther bailzie, 
satt down with the said John Mackieson, and fensit aue new court, and, without any kind of lawfull 
order, deposit the said Alex. Hervie, the bailzie lawfullie chosen for ane yeir Be cowmond voittis of 
the maist part of the lawfull comburgessis of the bruch, upon what raison is unknown to the said 
Alex, and because no citation past a befoir known to the said Alex. Hervie for that effect ; whilk most 
wilful proceedings the said Alex, referris to the tryal of his M. secret consall, or session and consall ; 
And, therefor, the said Alex. Hervie, with the advyse of the bodie of the toun aforesaid, discharges 
Wru. Johnston, bailzie, and the said persons of consall and clerk, viz., John Johnston, Wm. Johnston 
his sone, Wm. Bobertson, outland burgess dwelland furth of the toun, Wm. Fergusone, Alex. 
Mackieson, And, in his hienes name and authoritie and myn, discharges the foresaid Wm. Johnston, 
bailzie, and they of his counsellors seducit be him till these malicious intentions, that they nor nane 
of them tack upon hand to hold court or pleid within this bruch till the new election of magistrattis : 
And the said Thomas Johnston, dowmster, prouuncit dowm therein ; whereupon the said Alex. Hervie 
and George Mackieson, thesaurer, in name of the haill bodie of the towne tuik act of court and 

The said day George Mackieson, thesaurer, being callit and pursuit this day be the said seditious 
persons, for macking of compt reckoning and payment of the cowmond guid of this bruch sen his first 
election to the office, extending to the number of fourtein yeirs as thai allege, and twa or threi of the 
saids persons themselfis occupiet the place of thesaurer within the said yeirs, wilfullie Bufisit to giff 
the said George Mackieson any lawfull day to defend agains this ther malicious Intention, notwith- 
standing thameselffis, (at leist) the maist part off thame, has ruellit with the said cowmond guid, and 
applyit to ther proper uses, without consent of the said George Mackieson, swa that the said George 
deponis upon his consience that he was never Intromiter with the said cowmon guid, but only thai 
usit his name to the said office, And compellit him, under tbe pain of amercement of court, sic as thai 
plesit to inipois upon the said George, to giff acquitanees and discharges to thamsclffis, and now charges 
the said George mellinger for the same. Therefore the said Alex. Hervie continews the proceeding of 
the said action agains the said George till the first tysday after Michelmas, whilk is the first of October, 
till the new election of magistrates. Whereupon the said George Mackieson tuik act of court and 

William Johnston, elder, the then baillie, one of Mackieson's party, held opposition 

meetings of council, whereof the following is one of the minutes : — 

1616, 10 Sept. — William Johnston, baillie, sitting in court, fines James Barnett for refusing 
to supplie the office of doomster in absence of the ordinary doonister. The Court goes on with process 
against George Mackieson to give complete reckoning, and pay the common good to William Johnston, 
present thesaurer. 

On 19th September the other baillie, Alexander Hervie, with the acting clerk, 

officers, and the doomster, held court and suspended the action against George Mackieson 

until 1st October, the day of the new election. Mackieson's party wound up this 

contest with a practical joke : — 

21 September — The said day compcrit Alexander Hervie, bailzie of this bmgh, Mr. James 
Mill, minister, John Bainzie, younger, sumtyme bailie, George Mackie, thesaurer, Be verteu of ane 
chairge giffen be Wm. Stewin and Eobert Fergus, officers, At the instance of William Johnston, 


202 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

elder, allegit bailzie of this bruch, charging us upon commandment of our counsall to compeir about 
said tulbuith this day, at sex hours in the morning, for what caus we know not. Thairfor the said 
hour being past by the space of twa hours, and the said William not compering, nor the remanent of 
the consall for the iuterestit parties, as we allege, Thairfor the bailzie, Alexander Hervie, with the 
advyss of the persons forsaid convenit for the tyme, and thai for their own interest, taks instruments 
and act, that nathing doune nor to be doune be the said William or his seducit faction be hurtfull or 
prejudicial to the cowmond Weill of this bruch, Ather for disposition of our cowmond lands, or appro- 
priating of the samyn to their own particular uses, privat or public assignations to our cowmond guid, 
or onlaws, amercements of court, or any uther thing that may be hurtfull or prejudicial to our cow- 
mond Weill or liberties of our bruch, whilk, giff thai do, the same to be null and of non effect ; where- 
for the balizie forsaid, Mr. James Mill, minister, George Mackieson, and John Bainzie, tuik act and 

The said day the bailzie forsaid in his M. name and authoritie and his, inhibits John Leslie, 
cowmond clerk of Kintor, being present, no wayes to mell or intromitt with ony thing, at the 
command of the said allegit Bailzie, in prejudice of the cowmond weill. 


The court of Inverurie, holden within the Towbuith of the same, the first day of October, the 
yeir of God one thousand sex hundred and sexteen yeirs, Be Alexander Hervie and William Johnston, 
elder Bailzies. Present— George Barclay, not. publick, clerk ; William Stewin and Robert Ferguson, 
officers ; and Thomas Johnston, dowmster : The sectis callit, the court lawfullie fensit and affirmit. 

The said day comperit William Johnston, elder, and confessit in judgment to have alreddie de- 
mittit his office of bailzie. Likewise comperit Alexander Hervie, and judiciallie demittit his office of 
bailzie forsaid, in favors of the town. The said day comperit William Stewin and Robert Fergusone, 
officers, and demittit ther offices of officiaris. 

The Court of Inverurie holden of new again, be Alexander Hervie and John Bainzie, Bailzies, 
lawfullie electit and chosen, the said first day of October, 1616 yeirs, and admittit be cowmond 
consent of maist of the bodie of the towne : And persons of consall, viz., George Mackieson, 
thesaurer ; George Grub, Andrew Angus, Robert Fergusone, elder ; Alexander Fergus, elder ; Gilbert 
Johnston, merchand ; James Tailyeour. younger ; John Bainzie, elder ; John Robertson, Alexander 
Smyth, John Ronald, John Thomson, William Johnston, son to umquhil Robert Johnston ; and Mr. 
James Mill, minister. George Barclay, cowmond clerk ; William Stewin and Walter Ferguson, 
officers ; and George Wytman, doomster — all members of court, lawfullie electit and chosen for one 

The said day the bailzies, counsall, and communitie hes sensurit William Johnston, elder, John 
Johnston, his brother, William Johnston, his sone, William Ferguson, sister's sone to the said 
William Johnston, elder, William Robertson, in Hilbrae, Alexander Mackieson and Andrew Hutcheon, 
whilk persons, being seven in numer, comperit this day at our tolbuith, befour seven hours in the 
morning, whilk is our lawful tym of day for holding of courttis, And ther without the consent of the 
uther bailzie, consell, or communitie, or ony wreit of thers, or of ony four com-burgessis of this bruch, 
And fiatlie agains their consents minassing and bosting thame with injurious words, calling thame 
liars and knaves that opponit or reasonit against thame. Thairfor, the Bailzies, with advyss of the 
consell and communitie, decernis thame in aue amercement of court and ilk ane of them for the sowme 
of ten punds, to be payit within term of law, efter the chairge giffen to thame for the same, be the 
officers ; whilk term of law being bypast, whilk is fyftein days, immediatlye efter the officers poynd 
the saids persons. 

The said day William Johnston, elder, John Johnston, his brother, William Johnston, sone to 
the said Jon., William Ferguson sister's sone to the said William, William Rotsone, Hilbrae, John 
Mackie, Alexander Mackie, and Andrew Hutcheon are sensurit be the bailie, consell, and communitie, 
And dischairgit of holding the office of Bailzie, consalour, clerk, or officer, and never to court any of 
the said offices in all tym coming, And that becaus the saids persons has maist wickedlie and wTang- 
ouslie, Be thair seditious faction sen the beginning of Junii last bypast, down manifest wrang to the 
haill bodie of the communitie of this bruch, In giffing away their cowmond lands, appropriating the 
samyn to thaim selffis, alleging at ther meitings and drynkings that thai may be thaiui selfis, without 
the consent of the honest neighbours and four burgessis, communitie, ather bailzie, consell, uther nor 
thame selfis, sell and dyspon the haill cowmond lands of this bruch, and appropriat the samyn to 
whatsomever person or persons thai pleiss, for the whilk causes the bailzies, forsaid consall, and com- 
munitie dischairgit thame, as is above specifiet. 

4 Oct. — All acts done in court be William Johnston, elder bailie, from the first June, 1616, 
declared null and of no effect, and he and his accomplices declared incapable of holding office in time 

A Burgh Feud. 203 

Alexander Stevin, brother to Jon. Stevin in Croftheid, inhibited from acting as officer, for insist- 
ing in the office of officer, being inhibited be the bailzies, and taking it on at command or desire of 
William Johnston and the others ; And for being art and part of knaverie with Thomas Bonner, who 
was baniest a lang tym sen syn, The particular cause whereof is perfectlie known to the bailzies, 
counsal, and communitie. 

From the above it would appear that a Court could be held at the requisition of four 
burgesses. John Mackieson, the turbulent clerk, disappears from the record after this. 
William Johnston, elder, was, before 1616, immersed in wadsets, from which he never 
got free. The distracted state of the Council at this period contrasts with the harmony 
of Kincraigie's time, when also the quiet and prudent John Johnston of that Ilk was 
the town's influential neighbour. His son George subsequently Sir George Johnston, 
whom the gauntletted Town Clerk got to back him in the reiving attack upon Curries- 
haugh, waxed ambitious, and had to burden his property irremediably, as before re- 
marked. Alexander Hervie owed his then position to having married Norman Leslie's 
widow, as during the minority of George Leslie, Norman's younger brother, he became 
the head of the family and its faction untU George came of age. 


4 Oct. — All inhabitants convene at the Mill of Ardtannes the morn, the 5th of this instant, by 
seven hours in the morning, with horse, servants, thak and raipes, to big and theik the mill, ilk ane 
for his own pairt. 


1617, 7 January. — Andrew Angus cnmpleins upon AValter Fergus that he dang him in the face, 
and bluidit him with straiks, under silence of nyt in the hous of Jon. Eeid in Ardtannes. 

7 March. — Mariorie Elphinstone, guid wyffe of Ardtannes, persued Alexander Hill for his dog 
worrying a scheip of hers, and that though desirit be the guidnian of Ardtannes to put away hia 
dog as a scheip worrier, fined 33s 4d. 

Also that George Smith, iu Bransbutt, had abstracted his multures and haill comes, for the years 
1614, 1615, and 1616. 


7 March. — The said day William Stewin, officer, gave in ane bill of complaint agains James 
Mitchell, skynner, whereof the tenor follows : — I, William Stevin, officer ordinal' of Inverurie, 
humblie meins and compleins upon James Mitchell, skynner, that upon the first day of this instant 
March, I being in execution of ane decreit pronuncit against the said James in ane court held within the 
tolbuith of this bruch, upon the seventeen day of Januar last, the said James wilfullie deforsit me in 
my punding, and wold not suffer me to poynd : But minassit me with ane sword in his hand ; And 
said girf I poyndit any geir that he suld gitf me as mukle as my nybour bed gotten. And in respect 
of his disobedience to his M. lawis, I moneist him in his M. name to suffer justice to proceed, qho 

anserit me irreverentlie in saying " upon you and your charge bayth ". In respect whereof I, 

conform to the order, brak my wand on him, whereof 1 crave justice. 


Compeirit Andrew Angus, and producit three recent wounds bluiding giffin him be William 
Johnston, younger son to umquhile John Johnston. Accused not appearing, proof was taken by 
witnesses that he committit the said fact and deid, with ane lance staff and ane durk ; for the whilk 
he was fined 40 lbs. 


24 March. — John Leslie, in Badifory, collector to the Kirk Common Guid of Inverurie, purseuit 
William Johnston, son to late John Johnston, for a fine imposed in the session of July, 1615, amount- 
ing to lOmerks, for sklander against Walter Angus. Also for 10 merks for satisfaction of his lata 
father's burial. 

Also 10 lbs. penaltie by John Banzie, younger, for his inconstancie in lowping back fra marriage 
of Christian Tailzeour. 

18 Apryll. — Claris Hutcheon, wife of William Donaldson (the drunkard of former notices), 

S04 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garloch. 

persewit for stopping and molesting Alexander Hill, in labouring his laud, taking his hors out of his 
cart, aud saying he suld never labor the laud while she levit.- 

a baillie's troubles and honours. 

3rd June. — Alexander Hervie complenit against James Mitchell, skynner, that he has abusit 
the said Alexander Hervie, his magistral;, in blasphemous language and disobedience to the said 
bailie in execution of his office, at wbilk tym the said James said he was als honest as he or ony he in 
Inverurie, or in the land that he was in, and offerit to draw ane durk to him, upon the wbilk the 
bailie aforesaid causit the officer chairge him to the tolbuith, when lykeways he disobeyit. Upon the 
wbilk the said bailzie causit the officer with his assistants bring him to the tolbuith, where the other 
bailzie, with the advyss of the eonsall, convicts the said James to ward in the tolbuith at his own 
expensiss, and to ly in the stocks ay and until he gett sufficient caution to satisfy the bailies and 

13th June.— The bailzies and consell elected, nominatit, and choise Alexander Hervie com- 
missioner to pass to the Parliament to be holden in Edinburgh, the day of June, 1617 ; and 
order George Mackieson, thesaurer, to pay him 40 lbs. for his expensise. 

July 12. — Compeared Alexander Hervie, one of the bailzies, and complains as follows ; — 

Unto their wisdoms the bailzies, humblie meius and complains upon Win. Johnston, elder, 
burgess of this bruch, that he cam to the yett of my dwalling-house upon the twenti-sext day of June 
last by-past ; and there with forthocht fellonie, boden in feir of weir with sword whinger and plait 
stellis, of intention as appearit to half murdert me and tain my life, — And finding me, the said Alex. 
going in maist sober maner, putting my scheip out of an house to the feding, without onie wapiu on 
me invasive, ther he most cruellie set upon me, and, or I was wair of him, with anp drawn sword he 
struck me in the womb (wame ?), to the gryt hasert of my lyffe, and effusion of my bluid. 

George Leslie was now of age to be infeft in his brother Norman Leslie's lands ; 
and on 23rd September, 1617, the minister, one of his curators, appeared in Court, 
craving a charge to Alexander Hervie to remove furth of certain of these lands. 


30th September. — The new Council which took office at Michaelmas after the 
civil conflict was terminated, must have formed a large per centage of the community. 
They consisted of Alex. Hervie and Wm. Johnston, younger, baillies. Persons of Council 
— George Mackieson ; John Benzie, younger ; Alex. Ferguson, elder ; Alex. Mackieson ; 
John Mackieson ; John Thomson ; Robert Fergus, elder ; John Benzie, elder ; Robert 
Tailyeour, younger ; William Johnston, son to Robert ; James Tailyeour, wright ; John 
Robertson, Alex. Smyth, John Ronald, George Grub, Andrew Angus, Gilbert Johnston, 
and James Bainzie :— Clerk, George Barclay, for a year; Officers for the year, William 
Steven and Walter Ferguson ; Doomsters, George Wytman and Thomas Johnston, alias 


1618 — 19th January — Ilk occupier of ane hail twelf-pairt to go to the mill-water, himself and 
ane servant, ilk occupier of ane half twelf himself : the occupiers of the ruids to gang themselfs. And 
who that gaes not with schoillis, spaids and uther materials needful to cast the thrott of the laid, and 
put the parts of the mill-water sufficient, to be poyndit 14s. 4d. 


13th Way — The haill persons within the bruch, stentit for myrbeir (moor rent), to pay their 
pairt to the laird of Glenbervie, at his mains of Kemnay, within 24 hours. 


11th June— Fra this day the common muir of the bruch be hanit, and not brocken be casting of 
turves thereon. 

Burgh Incidents. 205 


7th July — Andrew Gib accusit Mariorie Anderson for dinging and misusing him ; and she accusit 
him for dinging and misusing her, — botli at the moss. 

John Bainzie found guilty of troubling "William Stevin, and dinging him with ane tow on the 
head : fined 10 lbs. 


21st Jnly. — Statut that henceforth in na yeir to come at the time of the comon markets in 
Schent Apollinar and Lettermarie fair, that na burgess or other inhabitant sett hous to ony outland 
browster under the pain of ten merks nionie, to be presently thereafter upliftit and delyvert to the 
bailzies of the bruch. And gif it hapin ony outland browster to be that bald as to erect ony tent or 
pailzean (pavilion) to sell either aill, wyn, or heir, within the fredom or territorie of the said bruch, 
during the tym forsaid, in that case the said browster, or erector of the tent or pailzean, to be pundit 
for the said sum of ten merks, and the hail aill, beir, or wyn eschectit, and delt frelie to all men. 

5th August — The whilk day the bailzies, consell, and communitie of the bruch of Inverurie, 
hes nominat, electit, and chosen Gilbert Johnston, burges of the said bruch, ther commissioner, 
actor, factor, and speciall erraud-berer to compeir before the Lords of Couusell and Session. And 
ther, in name of the said bruch, and for defence of the liberties thereof, to produce the evident grantit 
be his JI. to testifie to the Lords of Session and Consell forsaid ; That the bruch of Inverurie is 
ane free bruch of royaltie ; and the said Gilbert Johnston, ane of the free burgesses of the said bruch 
being chairgit, be virtue of our sovran lord's acts grantit in presence of the provost, bailzies, and 
bruch of Aberdeen, agains forstallers, be vertue wherof thai hav chairgit the said Gilbert Johnston, as 
ane forstaller he being ane free burges of the said bruch of Inverurie as said is. 

A compromise of the case seems to have been thought advisable. 

11th August. — The bailzies, with advyss of the counsell, hes nominat, electit, and chose Alex. 
Hervie and Win. Johnston, bailzies of bruch, ther commissioners to compeir for us and in our names, 
before the provost bailzies and consell of Aberdeen, there to solisit, reason, and desire the saids 
provost, bailzies, and consell, that they will desist and seis fra the execution of the chairges usit at 
thair instances against our said bruch, in especial agains Gilbert Johnston. ... In respect the 
auld inhabitants and free burgesses of Inverurie has ever fund the provost, bailzies, and consell of the 
bruch of Aberdeen ther freindis in all ther honest actionis. . . George Mackieson, thesaurer, 
ordenit to giff to Alex. Hervie fourtie sh. for two days' expenssis in ryding to Aberdeen . . . and 
to Win. Johnston, bailzie, for ane day's going to Aberdeen, 10 sh. 


The said day statut that the haill inhabitants be answerable ilk for his familie, man, wyff, bairn, 
and servand, that nain gang to ony manis peis, to pull or tak away any of thame. 

21st Aug. — Andrew Angus compleins upon his brother germane, Walter, for dinging his wyff in 
his own house : Walter denied and referred to the oath of Cristen Smith, Andrew's wyff. She swoir 
that, within her own house, the said Walter keist her down, and dang her wi' ain iron taingis. 


7th Oct. — First Court day of the new Council. Statute After this day furth that na person 
within this bruch be extraordinar in ther drynking, either be day or after nin hours at even ; and 
that all inhabitants within this bruch on the Sabbath, if he be absent frae the kirk either at the 
preaching before nown, or prayer after nown, they being admoniest out of the pulpit be the minister : 
Ilk person found culpapill in any of that particular several poyntis, ilk person to be poyudid for four- 
teen shillings Mies quoties. 


1619, 2nd April. — All inhabitants having comoditie and fogage, fewall, faill, or devatts, within 
the said bruch and comontie thereof, sail gang, being advertist he the officer to cast ane fowse directlie 
at the marches betwix the towne's lands of Inverurie, and uther nybors' lands, next adjunct, round 

27th May. — Ordeint that all inhabitants of this bruch, payers of the myerbeir, be in the 
moss the morn, the 28 day of Maie, with spaids, fut spaids, and schullis and qnhell barrows, be aueht 
hours, to cast the fousis ordeint to be cassin in the moss, according to the dowusett of the quarter 
maister and George Foular, bailzie of the saids lands of Kemnay. 

206 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 


1619— 11th Aug. — William Ferguson sensurit for building out on the wast end of his fyrehous 
ane stain wall, in augmentation of the said William Ferguson his propertie, furder nor the rest of the 
towne, contrar to the laws of burrows, and lykwise for disobeying of the bailzies cornand, being 
inhibit : Fined 500 merks. 

John Ronald, fined 20 lbs. for building out upon the Kingis gett, by (contrary to) the law of 


27th Sept. — The bailzies— Wm. Johnston, younger, and John Bainzie, younger — requirit the 
thesaurer, George Mackiesone, to pay and deliver to thame ther bailzie fees, sic as usit to be giffen 
to the preceding bailzies yeirlie out of the comond guid, or else to allow the same to them on the 
first end of ther own few maill. To the whilk their dosyr the said thesaurer wald gift Da anser, By 
adwyss of the remanent persons of Consal and inhabitants of the said bruch ; who all being ryplie and 
maturlie adwysit therewith, plainlie Refusit to gif to thame any of the cowmond guid, Be rasoue ther 
was uther cowmond affairs to be down therewith, sic as Redemption of the puddock-buttis and uthers. 
And affirniit plainlie they wuld giff nain uther for ther fee to thame bot sic unlaws convickit be decreit 
of Court ; wherewith they ordeint the said bailzies to satisfie thame selfs for ther fee this year sen their 
election, whilk was upon the first day of October last, 1618 yeirs. 


The Court was taken up during 1618 and 1619, chiefly with matters of debt and 

transfer of land, and occasional riots. The feud still continued, the last act of it, the 

assault by "William Johnston, in full armour, upon the sober magistrate, Alexander 

Hervie, having found its way before the Lords of Council and Session. In return, the 

old pugnacious Baillie Johnston, watched his opportunity of procuring some magistrates 

favourable to him, in order to attack Hervie before the Burgh Court. The schism was 

at last healed. 

6th Oct. — The bailzies with advyss of consall, considerit the humilation made be Wm. John- 
ston, younger, Alex. Mackieson, John Mackieson, his brother, Andrew Hutcheon, and Wm. Robert- 
son comburgessis of this bruch, for ther former transgression and disobedience. The said bailzies, 
with advyss forsaid, has remittet the. saids persons ther former transgressions, because thei are 
adjudged be court alreddie, and hes satisfeit in all poyntis. 


The said day Wm. Johnston, younger, and John Benzie, bailzies, giff over the offices of bailzies 
deliverit the wand thereof. 

The said day the hail consal and communitie . . . finds na uthers persons within the bruch 
for the present sae meitt to exercise the said office of bailzie . . . Thai are of new admittit. 

George Mackieson is continuit in the office of thesaurer, and George Grub, Dain of Gild for an 

Council George Mackieson, Alex. Fergus, elder, George Grab, Andrew Angus, Alex. Hervie, 
John Robertson, Alex. Mackie, Robert Fergus, elder, Robert Tailzeour, younger, James Tailzeour, 
wricht, and Wm. Robertson. 

This is the last magistracy we have any record of, until 1645 — the court books 

from 1620 to 1645 being lost. 


14th Oct. — Ordainit that all twallT-pairt men within the bruch according to his own pairt 
thereof, bring with them to the miln betwixt and Setturday next, ilk twalff pairt man twa thack 
scheives, ilk half twalff-pairt man ane scheff, ilk qrt. twalf ane schaiff, with raipes conform ; and 
also ilk ane oxgait man ane thack scheff, with the raipes and twa winlingis of stray. 

Mr. Mill's Registers of Births and Deaths. 207 


5th November, William Davidson, Advocate in Aberdeen, procurator for George 
Leslie of Bogs of Leslie, produced a brieve from the Chancery for serving heir to all the 
lands of Norman Leslie, now claimed by George his youngest brother, and partly life- 
rented by his (Norman's) widow, (Alexander Hervie's wife). George Leslie, of Bogs, 
acted on behalf of Andrew Leslie, pupil, in Cryn in Poill, son of the deceased James 
Leslie, burgess of Cryn, eldest lawful son of Alexander Leslie, burgess of Inverurie, 
Norman's father. 

The plea urged against the lad — Andrew Leslie, then in Poland, or at least against 

the Baillies' at once proceeding to inquire as to the beads of inquest, is curious : 

Mr. Wm. Rae, burgess of Aberdeen, as procurator for David Cargill, also of the said brucb, 
compeirt, and under protestation, nowayis admit.tand the bailzies presently sittand in judgment 
judges competent to cognosce on the showin desyrit this day, and siclike for nullitie of . . . this 
day, — being the fyft day of November, apoyntit to be free, when na judges, ather superior or inferior, 
can sit and cognosce iu any cause being appoyntit to be solemnizit for his M. Releise of powder trasin 
intendit agains bim. 

This plea was repelled ; and nothing having been produced to contradict the state- 
ment of propinquity, as set forth in the Chancery brieve ; an inquest was impannelled 
to judge of the case, the jury consisting of John Leslie of Wardes ; William Johnston, 
elder ; Alexander Bodwell ; Thomas Johnston ; John Stevin ; George Mackie ; Andrew 
Angus ; William Davidson ; William Fergus ; Alexander Fergus, elder ; John Bobert- 
son ; John Bonald ; John Bainzie, elder ; Alexander Mackie ; George Grub ; James 
Tailzeour ; Bobert Tailzeour, younger ; William Johnston, son to Bobert Johnston, and 
William Smith. The Men of Inquest, (except George Mackie and Andrew Angus) 
found Andrew Leslie to be lawful heir in all the subjects contained in the petition, 
and served him as such heir accordingly. The Stonehouse lands were afterwards sold 
to John Galloway, merchant in Aberdeen, from whose son, Alexander Galloway, gold- 
smith there, John Ferguson bought them. 


1620, 21st April. — Court held by Wm. Johnston, younger, and John Badyno : complaint 
given in be George Grub, dean of gild, agains James and George Smyth and James Scott, makand 
mention that the saids persons on Sonnday last, the 16tli day of Apryle, being pace day, being at the 
buttis of the said bruch, at ther unlesum games and pastymes, not worthy to be usit on such ane day, 
strack dang and keist and kepit uthers, trublit molestit the haill town, being the day of the adminis- 
tration of the communion : fined 40 sh. each. 


13th May. — The heritors, bailies, counsall, and communitie, agres to refer to George Johnston 
of Caskieben, the marches between their lands and those of William Blakhall, fiar of that Ilk. 


The registers left by Mr. James Mill, minister of Inverurie and Monkegy, form the 
only record available of local events for some years after 1620, and until the covenant- 
ing period was at hand. They afford glimpses of the domestic condition of the people as 

208 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

interesting in their way as the pictures of out-door life yielded by the disputes and 
judgments written in the doings of the baillie court. Two imperfect volumes now in 
the Eegister House, Edinburgh, record baptisms performed by him from 1611 to 1641, 
and deaths occurring from 1609 to 1638. 

Mr. Mill took, at times, an active share in the business of the burgh, being repeat- 
edly " a person of counseil," and was, as the minister, much employed to draw Wills 
made within his two parishes, from the great lairds down to very meagrely endowed 
testators. Evidently formal in his habits, he has recorded interesting catalogues of 
household properties, both articles of furniture and of personal apparel, particulars of 
farm-plenishing, with the prices of the items, as well as the value of the personal or 
moveable estate then to be found in families of widely different social positions. 

The notices of baptisms and burials, afford frequent illustrations of habits and 
sentiments, characteristic of the period; and compendious descriptions of individual 
character are at times recorded, as well as references to remarkable contemporaneous 

In 1613, Mr. Mill had to write the Testament of John Johnston of Caskieben ; in 
1616, that of Walter Innes, the miller and tacksman of Ardtannies ; and in 1623, that of 
William Elakhall of that Ilk. These testamentary documents exhibit something of 
the pecuniary means which may have at that era supported a place in the upper rank 
of local society. 

1613 — 4th February. — John Johnston, of Caskieben, departit this life, buriet 5th February, in 
Monkegy Kirk — ane very godlie and verteous man. His testament, made be his own mouth — in his 
own house in Ardyharrel — the 23rd day of January, 1613, before witnesses, Mr. James Cargill, Mr. 
John Walker, minister of Kinkell, Ronald Cheyne in Ardyharrel, Gilbert Johnston of Petty 's mill, 
and Mr. James Mill. 

The testator directs his inventory to be given up by his brother Gilbert Johnston, 
whom he nominates his executor, with a legacy of 2000 merks — the testator's eldest 
son George being then a minor. To his sons, John and Gilbert, he leaves 4000 merks 
each, and to his son James, and to his daughters Jean, Margaret, and Christian, 3000 
merks each — to be payable as these children severally became of age — his eldest son 
to inherit the share, or shares, of any of them who might die in minority, and in the 
meantime, the minor children to be honestly brought up in virtue, and entertained in 
food and raiment by his eldest son. It is further stated that — by contract with 
Katherine Lundy, the testator's then wife — Thomas Johnston, the eldest son of the 
testator's second nuptials, afterwards Thomas Johnston of Craig, in Dyce — was pro- 
vided with the sum of 15,000 merks. The will opens with the solemn declaration — 

"The Laird of Caskieben, sick in body, but whole in spirit, assured of salvation in 
the merits of Jesus Christ only, and attending for his last delivery out of this mortal 
life, commands his body to be honestly buried among the faithful at Monkegy, without 
pomp of gorgeous funeral." 

Walter Innes's will has been noticed above (p. 179), the inventory recording the 
displenish of Ardtannies, with the valuation of cattle and corns. 

Mr. Mill's Register of Births and Deaths. 209 

1623, 27 Nov. — William Blakhall of that Ilk, departit this life, buried in the Kirk of In- 

William Blakhall died proprietor, by wadset, of Auldtown of Knockinglews, of 
which the rent due for that year by Thomas Dicky, Win. Duncan, and Wm. Wat, 
consisted of 5 chadder of ferme meal, two parts meil, third part beir at 5 lbs. the boll. 
He was due the minister 100 nierks for ane chadder of victual teynd, twa part meil, 
third part beir. He left, as curators to his bairns (John, Margaret, Janet, and 
Catherine), Sir Thomas Burnet of Leys, James Burnet of Craigmyle, Mr. Robert 
Burnet, advocate in Aberdeen, John Strachan, tutor of Thornton, Mr. Patrick Maitland 
of Auchencrieff, and John Seton of Minnes. His wife was named Elizabeth Strachan. 

The inventory exhibits 10 draught oxen, 18 merks each; 7 cows, 8 lbs. each; 6 
steers and 1 quey, 80 lbs. ; 4 two-year-olds, 40 sh. each ; 60 old sheep, 30 sh. each ; 
12 hogs, 13sh. 4d. each ; 4 horses, 24 merks each ; 2 mares, 20 merks each ; 200 bolls 
oats, 4 lbs. per boll, 80 bolls beir, 10 merks per boll. 

The tenants of Badifurrow and Crimond, left inventories, showing prices in 1(311 
and 1616. 

1611 — Dec. — John Duncan, in Badifurra, made his testament before witnesses, Patrick Leslie of 
Badifurra, Will. Garioch there, John Donald in Fetternear, and Sir. James Mill. 

Inventorie : Imprimis — 4 ox at 4 lb. ; 4 quyacks at 10 m.; 4 young steers at 5 lbs. ; 2 meires at 
10 m. ; 2 year auld stasis at 4 lbs. ; 7 auld sheep. Insight and plenishing, 10 m. In yeard and 
barn, 60 bolls aits, at 40 sh. ; 10 bolls beir at 4 lbs. Debts, among others his master (landlord, as 
rent), 10 bolls, two part meal, third part beir. 

1616, 19 March— Charles Chalmers in Crimond made his testament. The inventory: — 9 draught 
oxen and a plough — price of the piece 10 lbs. ; 2 steers 10 m. each ; 2 quyacks 5 lbs. each ; work 
naigs 20 m. the pair ; young staigs 5 lbs. ; 2 hogs 20 sh. each. 

The articles bequeathed include at times very trifling items, some of them of a 
kind not comprehended in the testaments of later times. 

1613, 25 October. — Patrick Lesly of Kiucraigie departit, buried in the Chappel of Garioch. His 
sister Margaret, in Schielbog, died 1 May, 1614 ; leaving 100 m. and her claes to her oy Marjorie 
Anderson ; and 200 m. to her son George Anderson, now in Poill. 

2 December. — Testament of Gilbert Norowaymade by his own mouth in John Thomson's house 
in Inverurie. He has makin black claes, as well as three eln or thereby of walkit claith, whilk is at 
Steven Stewart's, and John Steven in Cluny has them. He has ane new plaid, and twa auld plaids, 
and his ganging claes ; and ane coat in William Sangster's house. 

1615, 24 Jan. — John Anderson in Inverurie's testament. 

Inuentorie. — Item, ane meir estimat at 8 lbs. ; five yowes at 2 merks the piece ; ane chair, 25 sh. ; 
a buik, 10 sh. ; a tub, 8 sh. ; a kist, 20 sh. ; a cannas, 4 m. ; a little pan and a pot, 5 m. ; a tangis, 
5 sh. ; two plaids— ane at 3 lb., the other 48 sh. ; two tailor's shears — aue at 7 sh., the other at 6sh. 

1615, 19 March.— James Johnston, parson of Monymusk, departit this life ganging in his 77th 
year of his age — leaving his son James his executor, with the by-rents of Isaaekston. 

4 September. — The testament of Elspet Symmers, spouse to Gilbert Brown in Monkegy, bequeaths, 
among other articles, a halved plaid and a white wallicoat — a part of female dress mentioned in other 

Under dates 1625, 3 October, and 1626, 13 August, appear — "Gilbert Banzie in 

Inverury departit ; testit 8th day of Aug.," and " Mariorie Meklrum, relict of Gilbert 

Banzie, Inverurie, dep. buriet in the kirkyard of Monkegy." Gilbert's will shows that this 

head of the Bainzies, for the time, was a comfortable burgh farmer. He lived on the 

upper rood south of the present hotel, and was one of the Dava tacksmen, and had 


210 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

three sons-in-law to inherit bairns' gear. One of his bequests is illustrative of the time- 
being his sword and steel bonnet, which he left to his brother. He left 20 m. 6 sh. to 
pay °for his lair within the kirk of Inverurie. (To be buried in templo seems to have 
been then no small distinction). An entry in the widow's will shows the change about to 
come upon the house of Caskieben. She was a tenant on the estate, and owed " 20 merks 
of maill to Caskieben and Mr. Alex. Jaffray, for the duty of her roods, this year and 
the last". Mariorie seems to have been rich in plaids, having left her " Hielan plaid," 
" her plaid at the wobster," and " her plaid at the litster," to three several legatees: 

The deaths of notable persons are entered with occasional indications of the 
minister's opinion of the defunct. Burial very soon after death seems to have been 

1616, 29 July— Katherine Lundy, Lady Caskiben, departit this life in Ardycharral, and buriet in 

1620 22 Auc. — "William Johnston, son to George Johnston of Caskieben. 

1622', 8 January.— Christian Forbes, Lady Caskieben, departit this life, of age three score and 

1622, 17 Dec.— John Johnston, brother to the Laird of Caskieben, dep. in his own house, buriet 

le i624 20th°Aiini y — Janet Leslie, Ladv Kincraigie, relict of umqll Patrick Leslie of Kincraigie, 
ane aged woman of four score years, departit. Buriet in the chappel of Garioch 21st April ; ane Godly 
graiff woman, ane verteous woman. ok™.™ 

1635, 24 January.— George Barclay, notar m Inverury, ane aged man, about 84 or 85 years, 
dep. in ane gryte storm. 

Mr. George Barclay had commenced professional life, as a notary public, in 1599, 
residing at Chapel of Garioch; and was afterwards town-clerk of Inverury. His 
protocol book forms the oldest register of sasines in the burgh ; and contains numerous 
entries of interest respecting transactions within a considerable circuit round Inverurie. 
His widow, Christian Leslie, died 18 November same year. 

1622 15th Nov — Meriorie Elphinstone, sometym spouse to Walter Innes in Artoneis, now 
spouse toNorman Leslie, brother to the laird of Wardes, dep. this life at the Mill of Whitehaugh, and 
was buriet in the Kirk of Inverury. 

The mural tablet, now lying in the Churchyard of Inverurie, recording the deaths of 
Walter Innes and his wife, makes no mention of her second marriage. The tradition 
of her rising from her grave, and going home to Ardtannies, and not to Whitehaugh, 
would indicate that the earlier conjunction had been the one most agreeable to her. 

1629, 20 April.— Margaret Leslie, spous to Mr. James Mill, minister of Inverury, dep. :— About 
77, ane godly virtuous woman, buriet in the kirk of Inverury. 

When Mrs. Margaret wedded the minister in 1603, she must have attained the 
unromantic age of 51, and been considerably older than her husband, who lived until 
1641. She was a daughter of the Laird of New Leslie. 

1629 2 May.-George Leslie burgess of Aberdeen, callit of Bogis, dwelling in Inverury, departit 
this life : an aged man of 70 or thereby ; carriet to the kirk of Premnay, and buriet there beside his 
mother, Bessie Forbes, first guidwyfe of New Leslie, thereafter guidwyfe of Laws. 

George Leslie seems to have been one of the small lairds who found the burgh a 

Mr. Mill's Register of Births and Deaths. 211 

convenient place of residence. His son Patrick died there 2nd January next year. 
George of Bogis was the brother of the minister of Inverurie's first wife, Margaret Leslie. 

1634, 2 Feb. — John Black, husband to Violet Mathieson, husbandman in Conglass, about the 
age of 45, dept. 

The peculiar entry of John's connubial position is accompanied in his ■will with 
an exceptional provision of an anticipatory, or at any rate precautionary nature, viz., 
that his children be left with their mother as long as she does well with them ; and 
during their tutor's pleasure. !?he speedily married again. 

The minister's notices of defuncts were not always commendatory. 

1629, Nov. 20. — John Roualdson dept., an old man of four-score. 

The minister gives no character of this patriarch, who probably did not possess 

one which would have graced a register. He was the father of the drunkard, William , 

whose wife attained a distinctly expressed record of her conduct. 

1633, 14 Nov. — Claris Huchone, wife to Wm. Ronald, in Iuverury, dep. ; quha was ane very 
evill kirk keeper. 

The following entries are of interest as regards the criminal jurisprudence of 

Scotland at the period. 

1629, 4 Aug. — Alexander Fergus, alias Walace, in Inverurie, attached by the Sheriff of theft, and 
drowned in Uryf in the pot called the Ginken holl till he was deid ; buriet in the kirkyard of Inverurie. 

The execution of " "Walace " must have had an impressive effect. He was a 

resident in Inverurie, the father of a family ; the youngest of whom was baptised but 

two months before August 1629. 

6 Aug., 1636. — John Pirie, son to Wm. Pirie, in Fetternear, dep. this lyff in his father's house in 
Fetternear, buriet in the kirkyaird of Inverury. Was raissit again upon the 13 day of Augt. upon ane 
bruit that he had gotten wrong, in cutting his genitals from him. The body being viewed by sundry 
feirnouss and honest persons at the command of Adam Ballantyne, Bischope of Aberdeen for the tyme, it 
was found that the body of the said John Pirie had gotten no wrong. Tryers of the corpus, Mr. John 
Clieyne, parson of Kinkell ; Mr. James Mill, minister of Inverurie ; William Johnston, B., there ; 
Mr. Alex. Mitchell, there ; and George Lesly of Kincraigie. 

Affecting, or otherwise remarkable deaths, or burials, drew graphic notices from 
the reverend registrar. 

1620. — John Johnston, son to Robert Johnston, in Corsehill, plenisher of Lofthillock, in his 
passing through among friends for cornis, was slain be aue schot be Harie Gordon, in Haddo, at the 
said Harie his upon 24 day of March, and buriet in Monkegy, 25 day of March. 

1622, 4th May. — Elspet Anderson, dother to Will. Anderson in Conglass, made her testament 
with her own mouth, in the house of Thomas Smyth in Inverury. She leaves all to Wm. Ferguson, 
to whom she is coutractit in marriage ; and to whom she has borne ane man bairn. She leaves to the 
said William wliatsomever my justly appertain to her also be the death of her mother, Margt. Smyth, 
and be decease of her guiddam, Isobel Benzie, or by promise of her father, and what she has in her 
own ; and leaves her young bairnie to the said Wm. Ferguson, his father, charging him, as 

he will answer to God, to do his fatherly duty to the bairn, not as to ane bastard, but as to ane lawful 
bairn, because it was gotten under the promise of marriage. Whilk the said William Ferguson, 
faithfully and solemnly promised to do. And she nominates the said William her executor and 
intromiter with her whole geir. 

The touching record of penitence expressing itself in this poor girl's anxiety for 
the protection of her infant from shame, and exacting a vow from her lover to protect 

212 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

it, while she lay dying in her grandfather's house, where she had sought refuge pro- 
bably from her own home, was signed by Mr. Mill, who adds — " The same said day the 
said Elspet departit this life." 

1620, 20 Dec. — William Reid, girseman in Meikle Wardes, travelling from Aberdeen, was 
found dead at the Arnfield Loch, and buriet in the kirkyard, Inverurie 

1624 — Annes Davidson, dep. : deid there out at the fauld dykes of Netkertou, being ane cauld 
stormie nieht. 

1621, 11th April. — "William Johnston, elderin Inverurie, departit, buriet in the kirk of Inverury 
(This was the noted baillie of 1616). 

1621, 27 Aug. — Isabella Mackay, spouse to Robert Taylor, elder, departit this life in the Ord ; 
and was carriet to the kirk of Inverury, and buriet the stone on the south syde there. 

Same nicht raissit agane be her father and friends, and buriet in the north east nuik of the said kirk. 

1621, 8 Sept. — Wm. Couper, servand to Wm. Johnston, Bailzie, departit this life. Alleged felled 
be George Morgan, for the qukilk the said George suffered the inquest of ane assize, and was absolvit. 

1623, 28 May — John Johnston, callit of Ingliston, son to umquhill Patrick Johnston, dwelling in 
Inverury, upon the 7 day of May, 1623, being Setterday, at Artoneis, was wondit in the left side of 
his head by ane gryte straik, allegit strueken by John Leslie of Badifurra, in ane meetin after drink- 
ing. Striken down of the straik, and departit this life on the 28th May, being Thursday, at night. 

1623, 10th Dec. — Margaret Forbes, relict of umqll George Glennie, was delyverd to him of twa 
twinns, ane lass and ane laid ; the laid departit coming to the kirk, the lass baptisit callit Meriorie — 
witnesses — Alex. Glenny in Auchorthes ; Wat. Glenny there. 

Baptism in church must have been then the rule, else infants would not have been 

carried from mill of Aquhorties to Inverurie in the month of December. Their father 

had died in October — one of a large family of Glennies. 

1623, 28th Dec. — Bessie Chalmers, beggar, died in Thomas Johnston's house in the Eirkgreen. 

1624, 19th January. — John Cuming, traveller, with a wife and six bairns, from hielauds to low- 
lands, departit this life in Alex. Glenny's house in Auchorthes. 

Among the last mortuary entries in Mr. Mill's Eegister is the following touch- 
ing one : — 

Walter Malcolmson, son to John Malcolmson in Woodhill, being ane boy of three years of age, 
upon ane Wendesday, ane fair sun Schyning, the aught day of Februar, 1637, strayed out of his 
father's house in Woodhill, and after long seeking was found dead a little south-east from his father's 
house the threttie day of Feb. 1637. 

1626, 4 July. — Walter Cheyne, son to William Cheyne, tailzeour in Inverury, being in service 
with George Grubb, in Inverury, coming from the peat moss with his Mr. The said W alter drowned 
coming over Don, in ane salmon coble, upon the black pot of Artoneis. 

1628, 17 Feb. — Helen Glennie, spouse to Wm. Walker in Inglistonne dep. Buriet in the 
kirkyard of Inverury, with the rest of the Glennies. 

The recording of nicknames did not offend the minister's graphic pen. 

1620, 11 Dec. — Barbara More, in Inverury, spouse to Alexander Henderson, alias Danser, 

1624, 31st January. — Themas Johnston alias Comissar, departit. 

1633, 18 June. — William Lightoune, burgess of Enrowrie, alias callit Barrone Lightoune, dept." 

14 Dec. — Margarit Banzie, alias feel Magie, a natural foul from her birth, dep." 

1622, 20 Oct. — Alexander Anderson, alias Genkin ane lawful son, baptisit. 

The name appears also Genkin, alias Anderson. 

The records of births occasionally are interesting for the names of the christening 

company ; which enable us to see who were recognised as of the better sort in the parish 


1611, 18 April — John Leslie in Badifurra had a son baptised Patrick— wit. : Patrick Forbes of 
Corse, John Leslie fiar of Balquhain, and John Hervie. 

Mr. Mill's Register of Births aud Deaths. 213 

1627, 9 July. — James Leslie of Auchorthes, ane lawful dother bapt. callit Elspet — wit. : John 
Lesly of Balquhain, and Patrick Gordon of Bracca. 

1617, 11 March — William Blakhall of that Ilk had a son baptiset ; witnesses — John Strnchan of 
CoTskie ; Wm. Wood of Colpnay ; Alex. Tulloch of Craignesin ; William Johnston, baillie of Inverury, 
and Mr. Alexander Mitchell, schoolmaster there. 

1618, 1 Feb. — George Johnston of Caskieben, his oldest dother born in Ardiharral, baptisit the 
15th Feb. ; whilk day the laft at the Kirk of Monkegy fell. 

1622, 19th May. — William Blakhall of that Ilk, ane dother baptisit callit Katherine. Witnesses- 
William Colitis, fiar of Auchtercoul, Norman Leslie in Inverury, and William Johnston, baillie there. 

23rd May. — Maister Alexander Mitchell, ane lawful dother baptisit callit Meriorie. Witnesses, 
William Blakhall of that Ilk, George Leslie, guidman of Rothmaise, Nomian Leslie in Ardtannes, and 
John Leslie of Badifurrow. 

Norman Leslie must have left Ardtannies at the "Whitsunday of that year, 1622, as 
his wife and her second son by her first husband, Walter Innes the miller, both died at 
Whitehaugh, the son on 28th September, and the mother 15th November, 1622. 

1622, 20 Oct. — Wm. Fergus in Inverury, ane lawful son, baptisit callit Robert. 

It is possible that this Ferguson was Spalding's Baillie William, and father of 
William of Crichie, the common ancestor of the Aberdeenshire families of the name. 

1622, 15th Oct. —William Coutis, fiar of Auchtercoull, dwelling in Artoneis, ane lawful sone, 
baptisit callit Alexander. Witnesses— Sir Alex. Gordon of Cluny, Kt. ; Alexander Gordon, appearand 
of Cluny ; John Lesly of Wardes. 

On the previous December 15, 1621, Wardes had disponed Ardtannies to William 
Coutts and his wife, Janet Gordon, and they were infeft on 22nd December, 1622. Wardes 
was then close upon his ruin, and the Knight of Cluny, his helper thereto, was in much 
the same state. 

1626, 28th April. — William Johnston, bailzie in Inverury, ane lawful son baptisit, callit James — 
wit. : Mr. James Mill, minister, James Fergus, George Leslie in Rothmaise. 

The presence of the Baillie at christenings in the families of the upper class, around 

as well as in the municipality, indicates that his position, as head of the burgh, was one 

which imparted some degree of social prestige. George Leslie ere long became his 

colleague, and, in turn, appears to have been principal baillie. No provost was elected 

until the next century. 

1630 — 1 April. — John Leslie, in Artoneis, ane lawful dother bapt., callit Margaret — wit. : George 
Leslie of Kincraigie, and Hector Abercromby of Fetternear. 

13 October. — Mr. James Mill, minister at Inverurie, ane lawful sone bapt. callit James — wit., 
Sir George Johnstonne of that ilk and Caskieben ; James Elphinstonne of Glack ; Alex. Leslie of 
Tullos, and Mr. Andrew Logy, person of Rane. Borne 2 Oct., 1630. 

The minister seems to have been cordially disposed to celebrate his accession to 
the dignity of paternity ; and that by a wife belonging to one of the county families, 
probably considered as an advance upon his previous twenty-six years alliance with a 
ruling burgh house. The laird of Glack may have been the father of his wife, Meriorie ; 
who collected her husband's friends at christenings pretty frequently afterwards. 
Caskieben, the son of Mr. Mill's old friend — godly and virtuous John Johnston — had 
been five years a baronet in 1630, and was Sheriff of the county, in succession to the 
Earl of Huntly, removed by Charles I. in his policy of curbing the great nobles. Mr. 
Mill's other christenings, with their graphic records, have been noted already. He 

214 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

appends to this, the first of his Mause baptisms, notice of an historical event, which 
made a great commotion at the time, " the burning of Frendraught," supposed to have 
been a malicious and cruel act. of faction strife. The date of the birth was 2nd October, 
1630, the same day that the sad tragedy had its beginning. 

Ilk day Jas. Leslie of Achortheis was schot in the richt arm be the laird of Condlan in Fren- 
draucht's coinpanie. 9 Oct., 1630, Frendraucht's house brant ; within it six men brant deid. 

1635, 7 March. — John Leslie of Balquhain and Janet Innes, ane son bapt., callit Alex. Wit. — 
Alex. Leslie in Tullos, Wm. Leslie of Carchnie, in respect there was no minister at the Chappel after 
the death of Mr. Andro Straqn. 

For three years later the minister's register of baptisms goes on in the same 
general style of entry; recording in 1639 a birth to Eobert Nuccol, pyper, 
and his wyfe ; and also one to Violet Mathieson in Conglass, whose first husband, 
John Black, had exhibited in 1634 some want of faith in her doing well with 
his children, and who, in 1640, appears as the wife of John Johnston. Two notaries 
resident together ■ in Inverurie appear, John Mackyson, notar, having a daughter 
Mariorie, by his wife Margaret Lyndsay, 10th January, 1636 ; and John Macky, notar, 
who made his will 23rd March in the same year, in the schoolmaster's house, when one 
of the witnesses was a new laird of Drimmies, Alexander Chalmers, whose son 
William succeeded him before 1660. 

A different hand is apparent in a portion of a baptismal register, added to Mr. 
Mill's, and beginning 21st May, 1643. An entry in 1644, shows the old minister to 
have been replaced by Mr. William Forbes ; who was to live through the most charac- 
teristic period of the century — that which saw the beginning and the end of the covenant- 
ing rule. 

1644, 15th April — Mr. William Forbes, minister, and Margaret Strachan, ane lawful son, baptisit 
William. Wit. : — Mr. Samuel Waker, minister at Monkegy, and Mr. William Leith, minister at 

Mr. Waker was deposed for malignancy by the covenanters, and reponed after 
1660 by the Episcopal Synod, Mr. Leith was "dealt with" in 1647, and deposed 
in 1649. 

A new baillie is prominent in the new register, making occasional entries, viz., John 
Johnston : whose initials appeared on the Town-House of 1662. 

In 1646, William Eobertson of Aquhorties, with a second wife, Margaret Collieson, 
registered a daughter Jean. William Fergus in Crichie, the ancestor of the Fergu- 
sons of Aberdeenshire, appears witnessing (6th Aug., 1645), the christening of William, 
son of James Fergus, notary, Town-Clerk of Inverury, by his wife Jean Rait. 

The christening parties invited by the minister and schoolmaster of Inverurie, 
illustrate the intercourse that obtained in the higher social grade of the Garioch burgh, 
when James the Sixth was king. Its municipal rulers were then almost all Leslies and 
Johnstons, cousins, by at least Scotch reckoning, of the neighbouring lords of Balquhain 
and Caskieben. Several lairds, cadets of the former family, had their homes in Inverurie — 
their properties possessing, it is likely, no mansion houses. Leslie of Rothmaise and 

Mr. Mill's Register of Births and Deaths. 215 

Leslie of Bogs lived in the burgh, and the Kincraigie family had done so for three, if 
not six generations. Ardtannies in Mr. James Mill's time, was the residence in succes- 
sion of Leslie of Wardes the proprietor, of Walter Innes the wealthy miller of Inverurie, 
brother-in-law probably of the laird of Glack, of Gilbert Johnston, Caskieben's next 
younger brother, of William Coutts the young laird of Auchtercoull, newly wedded to 
a daughter of the baronet of Cluny, and of John Leslie of Badifurrow, Kincraigie's 
second son ; all of whom were in tbeir turn wadsetters of Ardtannies. The Blakhalls of 
that Ilk, Coroners and Foresters of the Garioch were close by, and in near neighbour- 
hood, James Elphinstone of Glack, father-in-law in 1630 apparently to both the middle 
aged minister of Inverurie and Monkegy, and to Alexander Leslie of Tullos then a 
young man, who forty years afterwards became fourteenth baron of Balquhain, and a 
Count of the Holy Boman Empire — which dignity his brother Walter, pushing his 
fortunes abroad, had attained in the service of Austria. 

We find no sign of Alexander Leslie's father or brother, the tenth and eleventh 
barons of Balquhain, and local chiefs of the Leslies, associating with the burgesses of the 
town, in the familiar friendship indicated by the christening entries of Mr. Mill, Both 
these gentlemen were of extravagant habits, and between them wasted the wide 
property, which the preceding laird, William — the entertainer of Queen Mary — ruled over 
with honour. 

John, tenth baron, who was the great man of the Garioch from 1571 to 1622, kept 
up the dashing and turbulent style common in his class when he was a boy, and used 
never to ride out but with a retinue of twenty mounted vassals and retainers. He was 
the chief actor in the following feat recorded among the historical incidents belong- 
ing to the town of Aberdeen. 

On the 6th of February, 1587, the laird of Balquhain came to the Justiss Port, with sertan 
horsmen to the noumer of fifte, to be in the toune contrar the will of the haill magistratts and 
commands, quha was repulsit, and got na entrans, the haill toune beand in armour withstanen the 
said laird. On the niorne he came to the Crabstane with his horsmen to se gyff the. toune wald 
come out, quha came outt to the croftis on the north syd of the toun, and thairefter came to the 
Womanhill in ordour, and foynd nane of themye thair. 

Only two months later his son John, with a company of twenty persons including his 
father, attacked and plundered the house of Achnacant, in Buchan, murdering a servant 
of Alexander Cullen, the proprietor ; for which he got a remission under the Privy 
Seal, in 1620. 

The conjugal sentiment of an age that could tolerate Henry VIII. of England, was 
not delicate ; and John, tenth baron of Balquhain, is recorded as having had three 
wives, said to have been all on one occasion present in the kirk of Chapel of Garioch 
at the same time. When the Earl of Huntly was in his brief ostensible banishment 
for the Spanish Armada conspiracy, Balquhain was made principal Sheriff of Aberdeen- 
shire in 1594. He was in risk of being mixed up with the expedition against the 
Catholic lords in that year. The Earl of Argyle, King's Lieutenant, had summoned the 
incongruous houses of Leslie, Forbes, Drum, and Ogilvie, to attend him on his march, 

216 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

but a chance death in the gathering gave rise to such mutual suspicion as caused 
the breaking up of the Aberdeenshire portion of the army. Huntly was a 
favourite with the small-minded and shifty King. He had served him acceptably 
when being commissioned to put down the Earl of Moray, he had, in February, 1591, 
burned Dunnibirsel, and slain the earl ; who it is said owed the monarch's displeasure 
to the Queen's remarks on his handsome figure, a speciality of approval which had been 
so fatal to " Young Waters " in the court of the first King James. The king did not 
regret the defeat of the royal force under Argyll and Forbes by the Earl at Balrinnes, 
and in 1599 Huntly's banishment ended in recall and his elevation to the rank of 
Marquis. His Sheriffdom was restored, and that of Inverness added ; both which the 
Marquis continued to enjoy until Charles I., jealous of his almost regal power in the north, 
deprived him of them in 1630. Three of John Leslie's sons became barons of Balqu- 
hain, with the diminishing pride of place which his extravagance had assured to them. 

His eldest son John eleventh baron, succeeded in 1622. While yet only fiar of 
Balquhain, he was, in 1616, elected along with John Cheyne of Arnage, commissioner for 
Aberdeenshire in Parliament. Having the same tastes as his father, he had to continue 
the process of alienating portion after portion of the lands in wadset, until he could leave 
his son in 1638 little but the Castle and Mains of Balquhain, and the young man went 
into the Scottish army under his relative General Leslie, and afterwards into the Mus- 
covite service. Fetternear, the fine property earned by William Leslie's defence of the 
Cathedral of Aberdeen, his grandson Hector Abercromby of Westhall, second son of 
Alexander Abercromby of Birkenbog, acquired in 1627 from Sir Alexander Hay of 
Delgatie, to whom John Leslie in the previous year had disponed much of his property. 
The eleventh baron of Balquhain, and several of his successors, professed Protestantism 
with the scant sincerity which brought not 'a few of the less powerful lairds over to 
the religion of King James VI. Hector Abercromby was one of that class ; and 
Margaret Leslie, a full sister of Alexander Leslie of Tullos, who married first 
a brother of Delgatie' s, and on his death William Grant in Conglass, reverted to popery 
when an elderly woman, and drew her husband after her, who had been a prominent 
elder of the kirk of Inverurie under the Covenant. Their prosecution by the church 
courts caused much excitement and local disturbance. 

In the friendly socialities of the Garioch burgh exemplified in the christening 
gatherings, there would be no risk of the proper respect being lost sight of that was due 
to individuals of superior rank. The position of "the Laird" was one cordially recognised in 
Scottish life centuries later. In the time now referred to, it was kept graphically 
prominent. As a rule, every bondholder over a property assumed a territorial designa- 
tion from the lands wadset to him, and occasionally at any rate, lairds appended their 
designation instead of their names to important documents. When John Johnston of that 
Ilk, and Patrick Leslie of Kincraigie, during the time they were Baillies of Inverurie signed 
the minutes of council, it was as " Caskieben " and " Kincraigie " ; the peerage like style 

Mr. Mill's Register of Births and Deaths. 217 

contrasting effectively with the other signatures — done " with my hand at the pen ". 
Such honours of long descent are rare in any land as were recognised in that 
generation in the person of a small laird, George Leslie the last Leslie of Leslie — who 
could trace his forebears six centuries back, and be declared the representative of the 
father of a crusader. On 27th January, 1623, George Leslie of that Ilk was served 
heir of Malcolm Leslie, the great-great-great-great-grandfather of the great-great-great- 
great-grandfather of his father ; of Norman Leslie the great-great-great-great-grandfather 
of his great-great -great-great-grandfather ; and of Norman Leslie the great-great-great- 
great-grandfather of his great-great-grandfather. Malcolm and Norman were the 
Constables, the son and grandson of Bartolf ; the second Norman was Sir Norman 
Leslie, the first who adopted the surname, Edward I.'s Sheriff of Aberdeenshire. 

James Leslie of Aquhorties, who was shot through the arm on the day when Mr. 
Mill's eldest son, afterwards Dr. James Milne, came into the world, was the second 
son of John Leslie, sixth baron of Pitcaple ; in whose line royal blood flowed, 
from their ancestress, Euphemia Lindsay of Crawford, third wife of Sir William Leslie 
of Balquhain, and great-grand-daughter of King Eobert II. The shot was fired by Eobert 
Crichton, a relative of Frendraught, in the grounds of Pitcaple, whither the Crichtons 
had come in pursuit of John Meldr'um, Pitcaple's brother-in-law, a rough character of 
the period, who had rendered some service to Erendraught, and thinking himself under- 
paid, helped himself to two of his horses. The wound was supposed to be mortal, and 
vengeance was immediately sought by the Leslies ; in conseqnence of which the hasty 
journeys ensued that terminated in the terrible calamity of " the burning of Fren- 
draught," seven days after, for which the same John Meldrum was hanged. James 
Leslie survived his wound to meet a more honourable death, twenty years afterwards, on 
the field of Worcester, 3d September 1657, fighting for Charles II. ; on which occasion 
his elder brother, John, then laird, also received his death-wound. 


Chapter VII. 


New Proprietors. Badifurrow. — Leslie of Kincraigic. The First Baronet of Wardes. — 
Castle of Wardcrys. Warthill. — Leslies. The First Baronet of Caskieben. — The 
iMndys—Ncwplace. Provost Alexander Jaffray. — Chambcrley Croft. Criciiie. — Leslie — 
Lord Elphinstonc — Elphinstonc of Warthill. Blakhall of that Ilk. Bourtie. — Barclay 
dc Tolly — Scton — Collyhill — Clutplains. Mounie. — Scion— Farquhar — Scion. Aquhithie. 
Ardmurdo. Balbithan. Thainston. Lethinty. Findgask. Meldrum. — Templar 
Lands— Dalgarno of that Ilk —Chahner of Balbithan — Forbes of Thainston— Patrick Urquhart — 
Forbes of Pitsligo — Cathedral Chapter in IG15. Kemxay. — Douglas— Crombie— Slrachan. 
The Leiths. — Harthill — Licklyhcad. Abercromby of Birkenboo. — Fclterncar — Lord 
Glassfoord. Newton. Aquhorties. — Barony of Craigicvar and Fintray— Mortimer of 
Craigicvar. Forbes of Monymusk. — Pitsligo and Fcltcrcairn. Forbes of Leslie. — Leslie 
Castle— Lcithha.ll. Wadsetters and Reversers. Clerical Changes after 1600. — Cha- 
racter of the Garioch Clergy. The Marquis of Huntly. The Burning of Frendraught. — 
Lady Frendraught. Social Features.' — Drinking Habits — The Highland Chiefs — Fairs— 
Lowrin Fair — Burgh Magistrates — Members of Parliament. The Eve of the Covenant. — 
Aberdeenshire Becusant— Bishops of Aberdeen — The Aberdeen Doctors — Papist Houses— Father 
Blackhall— Prominent Families and Individuals — Balqahain — Drimmics —Piltodrie — Burnet of 
Crimond— Bishop Burnet— Crowncr Johnston — Farquhar of Mounie — John Leith of Harthill — 
Sir William Forbes— General Urrie — Urric ofPilfichu — Chalmers of Cults — Field-Marshal Leslie 
— General King. Inverurie Burgh Lairds. —Contract of Teincls — Monkegy. 



[N the seventeenth century the well-peopled Garioch could hardly escape being 
^Ji the scene of social changes, the result, in local details, of the disturbance which 

the great regulating institutions of the country had undergone. Such over-turnings 
in the constitution of the State, following those of the national Church, have never 
taken place but with the accompaniment of old families being every now and again, 
replaced by others in the holding of property. The Landlord has always, as a national 
institution, possessed the same great, or little, stability which has been allowed to the 
throne, the church, or other great expressions of national agreement. In the Garioch, 
and prominently about its chief town, wadsets, ending in alienation, of estates, were as 
extensive during the first half year of the century as were the changes in civil and eccle- 
siastical authority. 

It has been noted that the seventeenth century began in the Garioch with the 

Badifurrow. 219 

institution, by King James, of a new foundation of churches, taking the place of the 
ancient vicarages of the Abbey of Lindores — but endowed with only a small portion of 
the parochial revenues. 

The great bulk of the Abbey's possessions secularised by the king, had been erected 
into the temporal lordship of Lindores, which shortly sank into poverty, through the 
dispersion of what was regarded by many as " illgotten gear." The sale of the lands 
originated a number of lairdships new to the proprietary roll of the country. 


One of these was Badifurrow, now the chief portion of Manar ; which had been a 
property of the great Abbey from, probably, the time of Malcolm Leslie, the crusader 
companion of David Earl of Huntingdon and the Garioch. The Leslies of Kincraigie 
in Tough, were the first Lairds of Badifurrow. The family had lived in Inverurie from 
before 1536, being then of such local importance that they succeeded in carrying, for a 
second son, the election to the clerkship of the parish against the influence of the oldest 
family in the same parish, viz : the Blakhalls of that Ilk. It may be that the laird of 
Kincraigie had rented Badifurrow from the Abbey, and had resided upon it during that 
period. Patrick Leslie of Kincraigie called " Bonnie Patrick," was laird of Badifurrow, 
before 1610 ; in which year he bonded it for 10,000 nierks, as a marriage provision for 
his second son John, on his wedding with Marjorie Strachan, daughter of the laird of 
Tipperty. The money was payable into the hands of the bride's father, within the parish 
church of St. Nicholas, Aberdeen, and evidently was not paid for a long time. Patrick 
Leslie was an active chief magistrate in Inverurie, and in 1606, along with John Johnston, 
of that Ilk and Caskieben, then officiating as a baillie, effectually aided the well-wishers 
of the burgh, with the aid of the neighbouring gentleman and ministers in establishing 
a Grammar School in the town of Inverurie. 

George Leslie of Kincraigie, eldest son of " Bonnie Patrick," succeeded in 1613. He 
does not appear in the local records as a public man. He continued in possession of the 
property until 1643. His brother John was still called of Badifurro, in 1020, the 
redemption money probably being still unpaid. In that year ho became proprietor in 
wadset of Netherton of Knockinglews ; and he was at one time also styled of " Artoneis." 
In 1627, George Leslie and Magdalen Wood of Bonnyton, his spouse and cousin were in 
possession of Badifurrow, as in that year they pledged the town and lands of Appolinaris 
Chapel for 800 nierks to Mr Mill the minister of Inverurie and his wife Margaret 
Leslie. Magdalen Wood was among the last of an old Garioch family (p. 131). 

In 1632, their son George, younger of Badifurrow, married Lucretia Abercromby, 
daughter of Alexander Abercromby of Birkenbog, and got a charter in provision from 
thorn, upon which infeftment in favour of George Leslie, younger, from the laird of Leslie, 
passed in 16-13. In 1655, the second George who had a large family, by which he was 

220 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Gariuch. 

much impoverished, sold the estate of Badifurrow, with consent of his son, Patrick, to 
William Ferguson in Crichie, the father of the Ferguson families of Aberdeenshire, and to 
his son William, whose son Mr James Ferguson, an Edinburgh advocate, disposed of it in 
1699, to Mrs. Jean Forbes, widow of a then lately deceased minister of Fintray; about 
which period Mr. James Ferguson acquired the Estate of Pitfour in Buchan. 


Neglect of economy, or want of management, gave occasion to greater changes, 
about that time, in the lairdship of the neighbourhood. Social ostentation and its 
natural result of ruined fortunes marked the period of the two Charleses. The impover- 
ishment which appears, in those two reigns, to have befallen families previously wealthy, 
was not entirely the result of events occurring in that time of universal unsettlement. 
In earlier generations, the great, and also the lesser, barons had possessed an individual 
importance in both national and local affairs, which, of course, they ceased to be able to 
retain in the same form of actual power when the King of Scotland, sitting on the 
English throne, could wield a vastly increased central authority. The heads of families 
who, in I his way, had begun to find themselves without the old family prestige, adopted 
the modes of self-assertion which after times have seen resorted to when constitutional 
changes had worked similar levelling of political ranks. They affected a social conse- 
quence which would keep them distinct from the community around them, in as marked 
a fashion as the immemorial dignity of baronial rank had of old kept their ancestors. The 
case of the tenth and eleventh barons of Balquhain has been already noticed. Distinc- 
tion was sought by every available means of display, but at the inevitable cost of fatally 
encumbering old family estates. The new dignity of Knight Baronet of Nova Scotia 
gilded the sunset of several families, which were in a former day more substantially up- 
held in society. Notably the houses of Wardes and Caskieben had their decline 
immediately prefaced by the acquisition of that title. John Leslie of Wardes, the repre- 
sentative in Inverurie of the grand old Earldom of the Garioch, was, in the first quarter of 
the century, a dissipated member of the cavalier aristocracy driving fast to ruin by 
his own habits and the misconduct of a bad 'wife. A succession of wadsets, beginning 
before 1G08, deprived him, every now and then, of portions of his Inverurie property; 
until it fell at length into the retentive hands of Alexander Jaffray of Kingswells. 

That wadset marked the fall of a family in its time more than locally important, 
whose fortunes were illustrative of the age. The Wardes lands comprehended Glander- 
stown, with the mill; Tullyfoure; Duncanstown; Donydure, with the mill; Eochmuriel; 
Knockinbard, with the mill ; Ardown ; Buchanstown, with the mill ; Harlaw ; Meikle 
Durno, with the mill ; Torreys ; Eihill ; Warthill ; and the Davache of Liverurie, with 
the mill. The office of King's Baillie of the Kegality of the Garioch was attached to 
the lands of Wardes About the same time the King granted John Leslie of Wardes, 

The First Baronet of Wardes. 221 

a charter of feuferm on the lands of Crichie ; Tavilty ; Mekil KyxmaLdy, with the mill ; 
Litill Kynnaldy ; Pitmeddm ; and Nether Dyee. 

John Leslie, second baron of Wardes, who got these lands from the king, James 
IV., was five times married. He is now represented in the Garioch by the Leslies of 
Warthill, descended from a younger son. His heir, Alexander, born by his second 
wife, Margaret, daughter of William Crichton of Frendraught, was thrice married, the 
last time when in his eightieth year, and died in 1573. 

William Leslie, eldest son of Alexander, and of his first wife Margaret Forbes, 
daughter of Alexander Forbes of Towie, was Falconer to King James VI. He was 
extremely swift of foot, and it is said cut the ground when he leaped. His feats in that 
way were unequalled at the Court, and got him from the not over-dignified Monarch the 
appellation of " William Cut". He seems to have had the common " yird hunger " of 
lairds in unsettled times, and had tried to encroach upon the Benachie possessions of 
John of Balhaggarty, who, in 1589, received from the King licence, "notwithstanding 
the proclamation regarding the pest, to pursue William Leslie of Wardis, and John 
Leslie his son, for wrongous molestation in his possession." William Leslie had a 
large family. Two daughters were married to Sir George Meldrutn of Fyvie, and George 
Chalmer of Balbithian. His second son, known as George Leslie of Crichie, had a son, 
Dr John Leslie, Bishop of Clogher and Baphoe, ancestor of the Leslies of Glaslough, 
in Ireland. 

John Leslie, eldest son of William Leslie, and his wife, Janet Lines of Invermarkie, 
succeeded his father in 1602. He married Jane Crichton, daughter of Sir James 
Crichton of Frendraught, and died about 1620. 

The first baronet, Sir John Leslie, his eldest son, apparently while a minor, had the 
misfortune to marry Elizabeth Gordon, daughter of John Gordon of Newton, and by her 
infidelity and his own reckless conduct the lands were, before his death, entirely separated 
from the baronetcy. He was probably a weak-minded man, and latterly was of very dissi- 
pated habits. The first appearance he and his wife make in local records is in 1601 ; when 
they were dealt with by the Presbytery of Aberdeen as contumacious Papists. The lady 
was the more obstinate of the two, and prevaricated less than her husband ; who tried 
the usual subterfuges then employed to escape the close pursuit which Boman Catholicism 
had, in its turn, to suffer from the dominant party. 

It is said that Sir John Leslie's disorderly habits left his wife too much in the 
company of a ruined laird, Sir Alexander Gordon of Cluny, who seems to have sorned 
upon them, and the lady and Cluny became over intimate. After Wardes died, Sir 
Alexander married her, and they lived a deservedly unhappy life until she died in 
December, 1642, at Durham, a miserable death from cancer in one of her breasts. 
Spalding describes her as a " woman of suspect chastetie, and thocht over familiar with 
Sir Alexander Gordon of Cluny thir many years bygone in hir first husband's time ; 
and thocht an evill instrument to the doune throwing of both ther fair and flourishing 

222 Inverurie and thu Earldom of the Garioch. 

The immediate occasion of Sir John Leslie losing his lands is said to have been a 
bargain made by him with Mr. Robert Farquhar of Mounie for delivery of meal hi Aberdeen 
under a penalty. He failed in his undertaking, and let his estate be seized upon. He 
happened at the same juncture to be pursued by the Earl of Mar for arrears of feu-duties ; 
and in his difficulties, and probably in a besotted incapacity for business, tried to evade 
his obligation by making over his lands to Cluny — who himself was bankrupt — and then 
to the Earl of Rothes, who apparently would not meddle in the affair. The result was 
the lands passed, about 1630, into the hands of Sir George Johnston of Caskieben, who 
being unable to retain them had to let them "o in mort"a"e along with his own estates 
to Provost Alexander Jaffray, of Aberdeen, from whom, and Farquhar, then Sir Robert) 
Sir John Keith, the first Earl of Kintore, acquired a great part of them in the 
latter end of the century. Sir John Leslie died in 1640, and " was buriet," Spalding 
says, " in his own chapel at Tullyfour, where never laird of "Wardes was buriet before, 
and himself being the last laird of Wardes was first buriet there. He had three sons 
who all went to Germany, where the two youngest died in the wars." 

Sir John Leslie, the eldest son of the last laird, is thus noticed by the quaint w r riter 
of the "History of the Trubles in Scotland". Speaking of 1642, Spalding says: — ■ 
" About this time Sir John Leslie, eldest son of the defunct laird of Wardis came home 
out of Germany, but his father's fair estate was dilapidated, and little or nothing left 
him whereupon to live, so that he behoved to shift for himself and went south to 
Edinburgh." He adds, under the year 1645, "upon the third of February, Sir John 
Leslie of Wardes, knight-baronet, departit this life in new Aberdeen, a great enemy to 
the laird of Cluny who had melit with his estate. Cluny wairdit in the tolbuith of 

Sir William Leslie, his uncle, brother of the first Baronet, succeeded to the title, hut 
did not adopt it. The barony of Wardes in Kinnethmont was lost by the family about 
1650, and after being the property for some years of Robert Farquharson of Invercauld, 
who wedded a daughter of Erskine of Pittodrie, was sold to Sir John Gordon of Beldor- 
ney whose descendants still possess it. 

Norman, another brother of the first Sir John, continued about Inverurie, and 
married Marjorie Elphinstone, the widow of Walter limes, the wealthy miller of 
Ardtannies. He became, by a second marriage, the ancestor of the present line of 
Baronets of Wardes. 

The house of Wardes, in which the later generations of the Leslies perhaps lived, 
and which is now thrown down, stood about an English mile west from the Castle of 
Dunideer, upon the site of an ancient castle, some features of which were discernible 
in the end of last century, or at least were known by tradition. A manuscript, written 
with a view to the first Statistical Account of Scotland, says, " It had been built on a 
rising ground, in a valley between two hills, upon the water of Shevock. It has had a 
moat of water round it. The ditch may still be traced, but the castle is in ruins. It 

The First Baronet of GasMeben. 223 

is said to have been a high house, but of little breadth or length. The walls had been 
very thick, and formed of rough stones, with very few windows, and of the narrow 
slit kind. The lowest fiat had been arched. The entrance to it had been a draw 
bridge ; it had been incapable of containing many men. There was a new house built 
beside the old castle, about 80 or 90 years ago ; but it is in ruins also." 

The position of the ancient building, on the border of the Garioch in the widest 
opening from the hills, and the name of Warderys originally borne by the estate, 
sufficiently vouch for the Warders of the Garioch having had their official residence in 
that principal scene of their duties. 

The office of Baillie of the Legality of the Garioch, conferred by King James IV 
upon the second Leslie of Wardes, was, about 1700, held by the Leslies of Warthill, 
the representatives in the Garioch of the Wardes line. 


Warthill is one of the properties that took a new place in the Garioch, in the period 
now treated of. The estate came unto the family through the marriage of William, 
second son of John Leslie, second Baron of Wardes, with Janet Cruickshank, daughter 
of John, the son of Adam Cruickshank of Tillymorgan, whose family had been tenants 
of Tillymorgan, under the Abbots of Lindores, and were proprietors after the Eeforma- 
tion down to Covenanting times. In 1482, Adam Cruickshank had bought half of the 
Templar lands of Warthill, from Alexander Glaster of Glack; and that purchase 
became the dowry of his grand-daughter, Janet, and gave the title of William Leslie of 
Warthill to her husband. William Leslie acquired afterwards the other half from the 
heirs of a former wadsetter, Tullidaff, the representative of William Tullidaff who fell at 
Harlaw. The mural tablet erected in the kirk of Bayne, opposite the grave of the first 
seven lairds of Warthill, gave the ages of the second, third, and fourth, at the 
remarkable number of 90, 80, and 105. 


John Johnston of that Ilk, the eldest brother of Dr. Arthur Johnston, succeeded 
in 1593, to their father George Johnston, in his various possessions. John was twice 
married, His first wife, the mother of his heir, and of a son and two daughters besides, 
was Janet Turing of Foveran. John Johnston's second spouse, Katherine Lundy, 
whom he married in 1597, was a descendant of Eobert, the illegitimate son of William 
the Lion, and her descendants now quarter the Eoyal Arms. She was a daughter of 
William Lundy of that Ilk in Fife, a member of the Scottish Bar. With his aged 
father, Walter, ho is recorded as an active promoter of the Preformation principles. 
Katherine Lundy brought her husband several children, who were all left young by 
their father's death in 1613. She survived him three years, and died at Ardiharrall 
now called Kendal, in Keith-hall, on the 29th July, 1616, and was buried in the Kirk of 

224- Inverurie and the Earldom of the GaHoCh. 

Monkegy. The mother of this Lady of Caskieben was Christian Euthven, sister to 
Patrick Lord Euthven, who was concerned in the slaughter of David Rizzio at Holyrood 
House, in March, 1566. "William Lundy of that Ilk, her father, held the distinguished 
position, in 1580, of being King James's Commissioner, along with the titular Prior of 
Pittenween in the General Assembly. 

The whole of the male representatives now known to exist of the family founded by 
Stephen de Johnston, are the descendants of Katherine Lundy ; whose ancestors had 
very early association with the Garioch and its neighbourhood. The female repre- 
sentative of the house was married by Robert, son of William the Lion — one of the 
donors, under the acquired name of Robert de Lundi, to David of Huntingdon's Abbey 
of Lindores. The Durwards who were lords of Coull, and in the reign of Alexander II. 
claimed the Earldom of Mar, were of the family; they took the name of Doonvard 
from the hereditary office of Hostiarius held by the Lairds of Lundy. The Lundys of 
that Ilk held an honourable rank throughout Scottish history. One of the chiefs of 
the house fell at Otterburn; where one of his kinsmen, Priest Lundy, afterwards Parson 
of Rayne, was the protector, battle-axe in hand, of the slain Earl of Douglas — whose 
chaplain he was. 

John Johnston's " godlie verteous " life has been noticed, and his death at 
Ardiharrall, 4th February, 1613-14. His mother, the old lady of Caskieben, Christian 
Forbes — who saw her husband, her oldest son, and both his wives, all laid in the grave — 
lived herself until 1622, attaining the age of seventy-six, notwithstanding the burdens 
of maternity recorded of her in the family history, that she " buir ane fair bearntyne " 
to her husband. The provision required for the six sons and seven daughters, who of 
her children attained maturity, dilapidated the once extensive estate, and along with 
further alienations required for John Johnston's family, prepared the way for his son, 
the first baronet, being likewise the last proprietor of Caskieben. 

Sir George Johnston of that Ilk succeeded his father in the lands ; and in 1625 or 
1626, was made by Charles I. a Knight Baronet of Nova Scotia for the services of his 
family and himself to the Crown ; and according to Douglas was not improbably the 
premier Baronet of that order. In 1630, when the Hereditary Sheriffship of Aberdeen- 
shire was taken from George, Marquis of Huntly, the Laird of Caskieben was by Royal 
Commission appointed Sheriff for a year. In the first year of his lairdship, he would 
have have considered as scarcely qualified for such an office, having been engaged 
in the cause of a deprived Town-Clerk, in a boot-and-saddle association with some 
unruly burghers of Inverurie which strongly smacks of the manners of the 
period. George Johnston married Elizabeth, daughter of William Forbes of 
Tolquhon, and had by her his successor, George, also John of ISTewplace and William, 
besides two daughters, Jean, married to Irvine of Brucklay, and Christian, married to 
William Keith of Lintush, minister of Monkegy in 1650, and ultimately of St. 
Cuttibart's in Edinburgh, where he was, from 1664 to 1674, Professor of Divinity. 

The First Baronet of CasMeben. 225 

Sir George was making efforts to attain high rank for his family when his 
landed estates were on the point of departing from the name for ever. About 1628 he 
contended against John Erskine, Earl of Mar, for the Earldom of Mar and Garioch, 
claiming from Helen of Mar, whom he alleged to have been the wife of Sir James de 
Garviach, grandmother of Margaret the wife of the first Johnston of Caskieben. The 
matter was compromised, as has been already noticed. Sir George had acquired from the 
down-going Wardes family all the lands in Inverurie, belonging to the Eegality, viz., the 
Dava, the Eegality Upper Eoods, and lands in the Stanners. He drew his last rent, how 
ever, apparently in 1633, and the whole of his property fell, by wadset, into the hands of 
Alexander Jaffray, of Aberdeen, Provost of that city, and for some time its Commis- 
sioner in the Scottish Parliament. The service of Alexander Jaffray, younger, in 1645, 
in his father's wadset possessions, exhibits the extent of the estate which Sir George 
Johnston had to abandon, when failing in the struggle to elevate the rank of his 
paternal house. It included the town and lands of Inglistown, with the Mill and 
Milltown of Caskieben ; the town and lands of Newplace, Isaackstown, Legats Old and 
New ; the town and lands of Corshill, Buchthills, Standanstanes, Sleipiehillock, Over- 
town of Dyce ; the dominical lands of Caskieben, with the haughs on each side of the 
Urie ; the town and lands of Newplace of Caskieben ; Over and Nether Crimond, with 
the Mills of Crimond ; the town and lands of Shielbog and Ardiharrald ; with the teind 
sheaves of the foresaid lands — all situated respectively in the parishes of Dyce, Monkegy, 
and Inverurie ; the town and lands of Porterstown, with the Mill ; the town and 
lands of Boynds, and the crofts called the Braidmyre ; the town and lands of Loft- 
hillock ; the town and lands of Muirtown, with the Fulling Mill ; the lands called the 
Davach lands of Inverurie ; the town and lands of Ardtannies, with the Mill of Inver- 
urie, now called the Mill of Ardtannies, and the roods called the Davach roods ; Third 
Part lands in the Stanners, with the ferryboat and its croft, called the Over Boat of 
Inverurie, with the salmon fishings belonging to the said lands, upon the water of Don — 
with the Bailliary of the foresaid lands ; within the lordship of Garioch, and parish of 
Inverurie, and the teind sheaves of the foresaid lands. 

Newplacenow belonging to the Synod of Aberdeen, was in 1619, wadset by George 
Johnston of that Ilk, to John his brother, and Beatrice Hay, his wife. John disponed it 
in 1621, to his nephew, John (of Newplace), who married his cousin, Margaret, daughter 
of Thomas Johnston of Craig. Their son, Sir John, who succeeded to the family title 
after the tragic death of his cousin (vindictively executed for abetting an abduction, the 
perpetrator of which was left unpunished), had to let Newplace go to his father's 
creditors. Andrew Burnet of Elrick acquired it in 1707, and his son John sold it in 
1739, for £3746 2s. Scots, to the Managers of the Synod's Fund for indigent widows 
and children of ministers. 

Sir George's father, John Johnston of that Ilk, seems to have been obliged, in 1595, 
to sell a very early possession held by his ancestors in the Garioch — the estate of 


226 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Johnston in Leslie parish. John Leith, fiar of Mongerrie, bought it, and his des- 
cendant, the late Mr. Forbes Leith, sold it 260 years afterwards. 


Provost Alexander Jaffray was a man of the period — a successful politician, and 
an extensive money lender. He represented the Burgh of Aberdeen in the Scottish 
Parliament, in what radical politicians would reckon a golden age, viz., at a period when 
members of Parliament were paid. By his mother, Jaffray was descended from the 
Burnets of Leys, and was cousin to Mr. Eobert Burnet of Crimond in Keithhall parish, 
advocate in Edinburgh, father of the celebrated Bishop Burnet. The Bishop's father, 
who was elevated to the bench, took the title of Lord Crimond. 

The provost had another connection with the Garioch, having been brother-in-law of 
the laird of Pittodrie. He was infeft in 1615, in the Chamberley Croft of the chaplainry 
of Coynglass — possibly in payment, or security, of a marriage portion; a kind of endowment 
which he afterwards obtained in very business-like fashion for his son. Alexander 
Jaffray's connection with the Croft of the Chaplain of Conglass, forms an interesting and 
picturesque ending to the history of the famous Chapel of Our Lady of the Garioch ; 
beginning with the chivalric dame, Christian Bruce, the sister of the patriot King, and 
concluding with a wary Aberdeen money-lender. 

Provost Jaffray's relative, Pittodrie, was one of the heads of Garioch families which 
do not appear at that epoch with dilapidated fortunes. The Erskines had represented 
Pittodrie from the time of the first Stewarts, — the lands having passed from one line of 
the house to another. In 1604, John Erskine of Balhaggarty, and his son John, 
entered into contract with Sir John Gordon of Cluny, and Marjorie his daughter, for 
the marriage of the two young people ; and in that year Pittodrie gave a disposition, 
fulfilling the contract, upon Coynglass, Drumdurno, and Dorlaithen, excepting the croft 
of Chappleton of Garioch, probably that held by Alexander Jaffray. 

Jaffray's great feat in the chosen object of his life was the acquisition of the entire 
lands of Caskieben, about 1633. 

Alexander Jaffray, who was Provost Jaffray's son and successor in this great wadset, 
tells us of the keen eye his father had to money. He married him in 1632, at the age of 
18, to Jean, daughter of Principal Dun, " for materis and ends not right, but carnal and 
worldly," and taking the young lady home to his house after the marriage, sent the 
youthful bridegroom away to travel. Jaffray appears to have continued a hard business 
man to the end ; although his son looking back upon his whole recollections of him, 
called him a kind enough father. In 1640 the Provost lost his wife, and made an economi- 
cal bargain with his son and daughter-in-law that they should board with him. After- 
wards when the Irish rifled his house in Aberdeen, in 1644, he boarded with 
his son, who became a widower in that year. The old man died in the next January. 
His son, in his religious diary, besides the incidental illustration he gives of the Provost's 

Blackhdl of that Ilk. 227 

close habits in money matters, supplies a glimpse of the father's character, in speaking 

of his death : " He was much reformed, and withdrawn from company-keeping in 

1 averns before his death ". It must be stated to his credit that he was one of the early 

•nefactors of Marischal College, in the way of endowing it. 

By the death of the first wadsetter of the Caskieben and Ardtannies lands, these 

came, from 1645, to be represented by Alexander Jaffray of Kingswells, who was 

also in his time Provost of Aberdeen ; and who as will appear afterwards, played a 

prominent part in national politics, upon the covenanting side, although he ended in 

becoming an active propagator of Quakerism, especially in the Garioch. 

"When married, and twenty days afterwards sent away by his father on his travels, 

young Jaffray witnessed the coronation of Charles I., at Edinburgh, in January, 1633. 

The King had given the town of Aberdeen authority to establish a house of correction, 

in which prisoners were to be employed in weaving woollen cloth ; and Jaffray, possibly 

by his father's directions, went to the towns of Leeds and Wakefield to see the 

business of cloth manufacture, as carried on in Yorkshire. A company conducted the 

business at Aberdeen, under the King's patent, for several years. Alexander Jaffray 

thereafter went to France in September, 1634, where he spent about a year, with the not 

profitless result of being able to recommend that young people should not be sent thither 

until they had acquired sufficient principle and sense to take care of themselves. 

By his first wife — an excellent person apparently, and who was enabled to live 

agreeably with his parents, and also to give good counsel to her own relatives at her 

death — he had ten children, of whom only one son grew up, but who did not live to 

succeed him, dying the year before his father. Jaffray, in 1647, married for his second 

spouse, Sarah Cant, the daughter of Mr. Andrew Cant, minister of Aberdeen, one of the 

most active and best remembered of the numerous clerical politicians of the time. His 

eldest son by her, born 8th August, 1653, was Andrew Jaffray, laird of Ardtannies 

in 1696. 

C R I C H I E. 

The break up of the Wardes lands brought, for a time, into the roll of local proprie- 
tors Lord Elphinstone, then holder of the Kildrummy heritage of the Earls of Mar. 
The Mar vault, which rises like a small chapel from the summit of the conical church- 
yard of Kildrummy, was erected by that race of quondam representatives of the great 
Earldom. Lord Elphinstone became by a disposition from John Leslie of Wardes, in 
1616, laird of Crichie, and also of Meikle Warthill. Those estates had been held in 
1609, by George Leslie, a younger brother of the Wardes house — in succession to his 
brother "William. Lord Elphinstone's son, John, became Elphinstone of WarthilL- 


One of the families bearing the peculiar Scottish rank of that Ilk, who had named 
their lands after themselves, or taken their name from the estate, dwelt long upon 

228 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

the rising ground at Blakhall, in Inverurie, which became in the middle of the seven- 
teenth century busy repeatedly with the encamping of Argyll, Montrose, and Huntly. 

The origin of the Blakhalls of that Ilk is not known, nor that of the dignity they 
enjoyed of hereditary Foresters and Coroners of the Garioch. In right of that office, they 
carried arms " gules, a hand issuing out of the sinister flank ; and thereupon a falcon 
perching and hooded, or ; and on a chief argent, three mullets azure ". The following 
dates are associated with the name — 

In 1398, William de Blakhall was on the jury serving William de Tullidaff of 
Lentush and Botmaise, heir to his father John de Tullidaff, who afterwards fell at 
Harlaw. In 1418, Bobert de Blakhall was on an inquest regarding the lands of 
Glack. In 1424, John Blakhall was baillie in a sasine on Little Warthill in favour 
of Alexander Forbes. 

In 1447, John Blakhall of that Ilk witnessed a disposition of annual rents of some 
lands in Inverurie; and again William Blakhall, between 1451 and 1486. In 1491, 
Bobert Blakhall of that Hk received by charter a fourth part of the lands of Blakhall 
from William de Merenys, the son, probably, of Alexander de Merenys, who held land so 
described in 1466 — very likely possessing it in marriage portion. 

In 1503, King James IV. granted a charter to Wilbam Blakhall of that Ilk, of half 
the lands of Folablackwater, in the barony of Kynedward, and the whole lands of Blak- 
hall and pertinents, and also upon the offices, of Foresters and Coroner of regality of the 
Garioch, which belonged to the said William, hereditarily. His wife's name was Isabel 
Hay. The Folablackwater here mentioned was the land of Little Folia, in Bayne 
known in 1376 as Folethrule; one of the Bules, or places named after St. Bule or Eegul- 
us, and the early site of a chapel dedicated to that famous missionary, which stood near 
where the Episcopal Chapel of Little Folia now is situated. In 1519, Bobert Blakhall 
obtained sasine on Little Folia. 

Another William Blakhall at the same time was laird of Barra in the parish of 
Bourtie, probably the " goodman of Barra, Blackhall," who married a daughter of Gilbert 
Johnston of Caskieben. In the middle of the century a succeeding laird married 
Katherine Gordon of Lesmoir. 

La 1536, William Blakhall of that Ilk claimed the right to discharge the duties of 
parish clerk of Inverurie, as deputy of his brother, John Blakhall. The clerk may have 
had to wife, Margaret, daughter of the Laird of Caskieben, who fell at Flodden — she 
having married, " a son of Blakhall of that Ilk ". During that century the family 
was prosperous, and held large wadsets upon the neighbouring lands of Balcjuhain, the 
owners of which were for a long period in a depressed condition. 

In 1547, William Blakhall was served heir to his father, William Blakhall, in the 
regality offices. He died at Aberdeen, 5th August, 1589, leaving a daughter, Margaret. 
His cousin, Alexander, was in 1591, served heir to him, in the estates and offices. 
Alexander Blakhill of that Ilk, in March, 1592, subscribed the "Band anent the 

Bourtie. 229 

Religion " at Aberdeen — the Protestant Covenant, which probably suggested the forma- 
tion of the Solemn League of the Covenanters of the next reign. 

Before 1600, the time when Inverurie begins to appear much in existing docu- 
ments, the family had begun to decay. Alexander Blakhall had to mortgage a part of his 
land in that year, and another in 1613. His son William Blakhall's wife, named Elizabeth 
Strachan, gave up in 1615 her life-rent of the Ledingham Croft and Gawain's Croft, 
then bonded. In 1613, King James VI. granted a charter of Blakhall, and the 
offices of Forester and Coroner to Alexander Burnett of Leys. The Laird of Leys 
was a relative — being grand nephew to Isabel Burnet, Lady Blakhall, possibly the wife 
of William, the Laird, in 1547. In 1643, John Blakhall was served heir to his father, 
William Blakhall of that Ilk, in the Blakhall lands and offices, as well as in the 
town of Auldtoun of Knockinglews. The charter was in preparation probably for the 
final alienation of the estates. The marches between Blakhall and the Burgh of 
Inverurie were, in 1620, referred to the arbitration of George Johnston of Caskieben. 

An entry appears in 1647 among the brieves of birth in the burgh records of Aber- 
deen, " William Blakhall, now in the university of Broomyberrie, within the dukedom 
of Spruce, is found son of late Robert Blakhall, burgess of Aberdeen, and Elspet Shand, 
his spouse, and lineally descended on the father's side from the Blakhalls of that Ilk 
and the lairds of Ury, Hay, and on the mother's side lawfully descended from the lairds 
of Pitfodels, Eeid, and Menzies of Durn ". 

The Blakhalls and Johnstons adopted the Eeformed faith, while the Wardes family, 
like their chiefs of Bahpihain, continued in the proscribed allegiance to Eome. In the 
registers which Mr James Mill was fond of keeping, of events in the lives of his parish- 
ioners, christenings at Blakhall of sons and daughters of William Blakhall of that Ilk 
appear in due number, graced by the presence of the aristocracy of the burgh and its 
neighbourhood. John who was served his father's heir in 1643, made his entrance thus 
into society, 11th March, 1617 — the last child but one baptised to his father whose final 
appearance in Mr Mill's registers is in the record of his last will made in September, 1623, 
and his death two months afterwards (p. 209). In the pious language of testamentary 
deeds of the time, he left his soul to God, and then his gear to be equally parted amongst 
his four bairns, John, Margaret, Janet, and Catherine ; their mother, Elizabeth Strachan, 
being nominated their tutor. 

The family has now altogether disappeared from the Garioch. John, the son 
above noticed, was in February, 1648, married at Aberdeen, as Captain John Blakhill 
of that Ilk, to Isabel Bobertson. 


The estate of Auld Bourtie, with part of Pitgaveny, which Christian, Lady of the 
Garioch, gave a charter of to . . . Abernethie in 1346, and which Margaret, Lady 
of the Garioch in 1387, confirmed to John of Abernethie's brother, Alexander Barclay, 

230 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

son of William Barclay of Kercow in the Carse of Gowrie — was down to 1598 generally 
a younger son's portion among the possessions of the Barclays de Tolly, but frequently 
recurring to the head of the house. 

The ancient house of Barclay of Tolly is very widely represented in the present 
day. Their connection with the Garioch was their being possessors of the estate of 
Bourtie. The charters of 1346 and 1387, have been noticed above (p. 64). The titles 
of the lands of Bourtie contain the following documents in continuation. 

In 1441, Walter Barclay was infeft in the Bourtie lands as heir -to his grandfather, 
Alexander (of 1387), upon precept for William Earl of Orkney, Lord of the Begality. 

In 1458, the king granted charter on the lands of Auld Bourtie, and third part of 
Pitgaveny to Walter Barclay de Tolly. 

In 1503, Patrick Barclay and Elizabeth Barclay his spouse, got a crown charter of 
the same lands on resignation by Walter, his father. 

In 1531, Patrick Barclay, was retoured heir to Patrick Barclay of Tolly, his father, 
Alexander Ogilvie of that Ilk, Sheriff Principal of Aberdeen, ordered George Bisset 
Mair offer to infeft him. 

In 1551, Queen Mary granted charter of Auld Bourtie and Hillbrae to Patrick 
Barclay de Tolly and Elizabeth Forbes, his wife. 

In 1.584, John Barclay was returned legitimate and nearest heir of Patrick Barclay 
and Elizabeth Forbes on the same lands. 

In 1598, Walter Barclay of Towie with consent of his son Patrick, sold Old 
Bourtie, the Mill-lands, and Hillbrae for 20,000 merks, to James Seton, portioner of 
Barrack, and John Urquhart, Tutor of Cromarty, his cautioner, which last was the 
husband of his relative, Elizabeth Seton, afterwards heiress of entail of the lands of 
Meldrum, and by her was ancestor of the Urquharts of Meldrum. Janet Elphingston, 
the wife of Patrick Barclay of Towie, resigned her life-rent of the lands at the same 

A crown charter of Bourtie was granted in 1608, by which time James Seton was 
married to Margaret Holland, daughter of Mr. William Holland, King James VI. 's Master 
of the Mint at Aberdeen. He became, before 1619, James Seton of Pitniedden, a 
property in Udny still held by his representative, Sir William Coote Seton. John Seton, 
the grandson of James Seton of Bourtie and Pitmedden, was prominent in the Civil War 
in Scotland, and was killed at the Bridge of Dee in June, 1639. His two sons were left 
children, and impoverished. The heir, James, sold Bourtie in 1655 to Mr. James Reid, 
Advocate in Aberdeen, and Isabel Hay, his spouse. 

The culminating period of the Garioch was about 1600. George Seton, the elder 
brother of James Seton, who acquired Bourtie, was then laird of Barra. He was Chancellor 
of Aberdeen, vicar of Bethelny, and Collihill chaplain. The Collihill chaplainry 
founded by Margaret of Douglass in 1384, was endowed with ten pounds from the 
lands of Collihill. These lands are now conjoined in property with Bourtie. In 1542, 

Aquhithie, Ardmurdo, Balbithan, TJiainston, Lethenty, Findgask, Meldrum. 231 

Collihill belonged to Gilbert Annand and Agnes Hay his wife, possibly the persons com- 
memorated on the broken tombstone in Bourtie churchyard (siqjra, p. 103). In that 
year, Mr. William Hay, vicar of Migvie, and chaplain of Collihill, made over the security 
to Gilbert Annand and his wife. Three chaplains are mentioned in the Collihill 
documents after the vicar of Migvie, viz., Thomas Hay, Cuthbert Herd, probably the 
chaplain of Queen Mary's visit, and James Wardlaw who was instituted 22nd August, 
1567 — the presentation having been made that year by John Earl of Mar, Lord Erskine, 
upon the resignation of Cuthbert Herd. 


The lands of Mounie continued in the first Seton family who held them, until 
1623, when "William Seton sold them to the Tutor of Cromarty, and his wife Elizabeth 
Seton. Their son Patrick Urquhart, then of Lethinty, disponed Mounie to Mr. Robert 
Farquhar, baillie of Aberdeen, from whom it passed by disposition in 1633 to Patrick 
Farquhar, eldest son of Mr. Alexander Farquhar of Tonley. The price seems never to have 
been paid by the Aberdeen baillie, who was Wardes's fatal creditor, and a busy man in 
those troublesome times. Sir Eobert Farquhar's heirs were prosecuted by Sir John 
Urquhart of Cromarty in 1669. Alexander Farquhar of Mounie's property was all se- 
questrated in 1701-2 for debt, and in 1714 George Seton, second son of Alexander 
Seton of Pitmedden repurchased the estate; and it is now held by descendents 
representing, with the adopted name of Seton, his eldest daughter, Margaret, wife of 
James Anderson, LL.D., of Cobenshaw. Her grandson was the Colonel Seton of the 
heroic story of the loss of the Birkenhead, in 1852. 


In 1611, Mr. George Barclay's protocol book records several interesting sasines of 
these properties. One is of the Templer croft of Aquhithie in Kemnay, the charter 
being granted by Lord Torphichen, the representative in Scotland of the ancient Knight 
Templars. The charter included also a Temple Tenement in Aberdeen in vico montis 
scolaris, the village or street (originally synonymous), of Schoolhill, marching with 
property of the chaplain of St. Nicholas. The person infeft was Mr. Gilbert Keith 
in Aquhorsk, probably he who became the minister of Bourtie in the July of that year. 

In 1612, John Forbes of Ardmurdo died ; and in 1623 William Barclay, advocate, 
Aberdeen, and Agnes Hay, his wife, conveyed that estate to William Lumsden, 
advocate, Aberdeen. 

In 1615, a crown charter of Caskieben presents us with "the names of William 
Dalgarno of that Hk, representative of a family dating from at least 1400, then, or 
soon after, laird of Peithill ; and whose son George, 24th January, 1652, married 
Margaret Johnston, a daughter of the celebrated Dr. Arthur at Inverurie. 

232 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Balbithan in Kinkell, part of the possessions of the Abbey of Lindores, and 
included in the temporal Lordship of Lindores, had probably been feued long before the 
Keformation by the Chalmers family, originally of Ivintore, afterwards of Balnaeraig, a 
section of which, distinguished in municipal rank in the city of Aberdeen, terminated in 
a daughter, the mother of Sir John Urrie, the soldier of the Covenanting period. John 
Chalmer or Chalmers of Balbithan, about 1490, married Christian Leslie. 

About 1526, Annabella Chalmer, possibly his daughter, became the fifth wife of 
the second Baron of Wardes, by whom she had a son, Robert, one of the victims of 
Pinkie, 10th Sept., 1547. 

In 1565, David Chalmer was laird of Balbithan. He or a namesake died in 1580 ; 
and his will was proved in 1588, by his executors dative, Mr. William, Mr. James, 
and Henrie Chalmer, his sons. 

In 1584, John Chalmer, probably his heir, was laird, and killed the laird of 
Aquhorsk of Aberdeen. His wife was Margaret Seton of Meldrum. 

Before 1 600, George Chalmer of Balbithan married a daughter of "William Leslie 
of Wardes. The estate appears in 1627 in the hands of John Irvine, a cadet of the 
Drum family, and in the Poll Book (1696), as belonging to James Balfour, merchant 
in Edinburgh, another entry being the name of James Chalmers, lately of Balbithan, 
whose labouring was valued at £50. 

Thainston originally possessed in part by the Chalmer family, and so much of 
it acquired by Henry Forbes of Kinnellar in 1467, and the rest in 1535 by Henry 
Forbes of Thainston, belonged to the Forbeses of Tulquhon from at least 1610 
until about 1716, when it passed into the hands of Thomas Mitchell, an Aberdeen 
citizen, whose only child, Barbara, married Andrew Mitchell, afterwards Sir Andrew 
Mitchell, British Minister to Frederick the Great. Sir Andrew having no heir of his 
body, left the property to the second son of his friend, Sir Arthur Forbes of Fintray, 
from whom the present Thainston family descends. 

Patrick Urquhart, son of John Urquhart of Craigfintray (commonly called the 
Tutor of Cromarty), and Elizabeth, sister of Meldrum, was a prominent person in the 
transfer of Garioch lands in the beginning of the seventeenth century ; becoming in his 
time, laird of the long-descended estates of Lethinty, in the Regality of the Garioch, 
and of the Episcopal lands of Findgask, and was the first Urquhart of Meldrum. 

Lethinty had been in the hands of the Forbeses of Pitsligo, from at least 1455 
(p. 101). 

In 1477, Sir Alexander Forbes of Kynaldy died, vested hi Lethinty. 

In 1485, George, his son, sold for an annual rent, his rights to his son Alexander 
Forbes, who had been served heir to his grandfather in 1477. 

In 1496, John Forbes of Pitsligo was infeft as heir to his father Alexander, in 
Pitsligo and Lethinty, when only nine years of age. In 1524, Isabella Wemys, lady of 
Pitsligo, granted a lease of her terce " to her lovit carnale sone, John Forbes of Pitsligo ". 

Lethinty, Findgask, Meldrum. 233 

Alexander Forbes of Pitsligo, John's son, was succeeded by his son, William 
Forbes, of Melgum ; who in 1551, as grandson of John Forbes of Pitsligo, obtained for 
himself and Katherine Gordoun, his wife, a feu of the Lands and Mill of Findgask, 
from "William Bishop of Aberdeen, for a grassum, a rent of 131bs. 6s. 8d., two chalders 
meal and malt, two marts, four sheep, four bolls of oats, four dozen capons, six-and-eight- 
pence for bondage, forty shillings, one fed swine, twelve well-fed capons, or two shillings 
for every capon, twelve hens, two bolls mair malt; with arriages and carriages. 

William was infeft in Pitsligo in 1563, as his father's heir, and in the same year 
granted precept to infeft in various lands, including Lethinty, Alexander Forbes of 
Auchanaseis, to whom they had been sold by him, reserving his own life-rent and the 
terce of Katherine Gordoun his wife. 

Lethinty disappears from the charters and services of Pitsligo of 1577 and 1600; 
but in 1614, Duncan Forbes of Balnagask, in Nigg, obtained sasine of the lands of 
Lethinty, with the pendicle of Auchenclyth, which had belonged to Janet Forbes, relict 
of Mr. Duncan Davidson, rector of Eathen, one of the two daughters and co-heiresses of 
William Forbes of Pitsligo. In 1634, it belonged to Patrick Urquhart, who two years 
later had a charter of the lands of Meldrum. He married Margaret Ogilvy, daughter of 
James, first Earl of Airly. In March, 1645, her father, ill of fever, was sent to Lethinty 
to be nursed by her, from Montrose's army, then lying at Kintore, a guard of 300 men 
accompanying him. 

In 1615, sasine of Findgask, originally granted by the Bishop of Aberdeen, in 
1551, to William Forbes, grandson of John Forbes of Pitsligo, was given to John 
Urquhart of Craigfintray and Patrick Urquhart, his son by his wife Elizabeth Seton. 
The charter by Alexander Forbes of Findgask, and John Forbes of Pitsligo, was dated 
at Boyndlie, 25th April, 1615. The confirmation by the superior is interesting, as 
being one of very few acts of Cathedral chapters at a date so modern. 

The subscribing clergy were Peter Blackburn, Bishop ; David Bait, dean, and 
primarius collegii ; Bobert Jamieson, minister and parson of Clait and Forbes ; Eobert 

Merser, rector of Banchory Devenyck ; ■ ■ Strathachin, rector of Coldstaen ; 

John Walker, rector of Kinkell ; Alexander Scrogy, parsone of Drumoak ; W. Forbes, 
rector of Monymusk ; George Seton, chancellor of Aberdeen ; Alexander Guthrie, rector 
of Tullynessle ; Walter Abercromby, Archdeacon — the office attached to the rectory of 

Bayne ; John Strathachin, rector of Kincardin ; ■ clerk person in Ahindor ; 

George Hay, rector of Turreff ; Bobert Burnet, person of Oyne. 

Patrick Urquhart's mother, Elizabeth Seton, was heir of line of the Meldrum 
estates, and her son became the first Urquhart of Meldrum. 

The charter of Old Meldrum as a Burgh of Barony bears date 1672. The village 
is some thirty years older. About 1634 the population of the new place had so greatly 
increased, as to procure the removal of the parish church from Bethelny to its present 

locality; the position of the manse being changed in 1710. 


234 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

The Douglas family, whose time in the Garioch coincided with that of the Blakhalls 
of that Ilk, left Kemnay about 1624. The Earl of Angus was succeeded in his estates 
of Glenbervie and Kemnay by his second son, Sir Robert, in 1591 ; and Sir Robert's son, 
William, who was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, was the last Douglas of Kemnay. 
His sister was married to Sir Thomas Burnet of Leys, one of whose descendants was to 
become laird of Kemnay in 1688. The author of the Peerage, Sir Robert Douglas of 
Glenbervie, was the lineal descendant of Sir William. Sir William acquired the pro- 
perty of the Teinds of Inverurie in 1623, from Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum, and in 
June, 1624, disponed them again to Sir Thomas Crombie, and it is likely conveyed 
the Kemnay estate at the same time. The new laird was Sheriff of Aberdeenshire in 
1633-34. The plundering of his girnals at Kemnay House in 1639 was the first overt 
act of the Civil War. Sir Thomas Crombie was the builder of Kemnay House, altered 
since his time. He died about 1644, and a few years afterwards the estate was sold by 
the heir portioners, a sister and a nephew, — to Alexander Strachan of Glenkindie, whose 

son retained it until 1 682. 


The numerous family of Leiths on Gadieside were in a state of considerable 
mutation during the period now treated of. They retained Harthill upon which, in 1638 ) 
they built the Castle now in ruins. Edingarroch and Licklyhead were, in 1629, sold to 
the new family of Forbes of Leslie, powerful for a time, who built the present Castle 
of Leslie. Licklyhead Castle dates from 1609. 

On the lower Gadie the Leiths had succeeded as proprietors to the Abercrombys ■ 
Henry Leith of Barns, the common ancestor of the existing Garioch families of the name, 
possessing Harthill, in 1490, when he was also proprietor of Licklyhead, Auchleven, 
Ardoyne, Harlaw, and Drumrossie. 


This family appears in the Garioch under the following dates. (P. 65.) 

1345-60, Alexander Abercromby bought part of Halton of Ardhunyer (Ardoyne) in 

1360, Alexander Abercromby pledged Pethnialwhy and Herthill for payment 
of a feu-duty. 

1407, John Abercromby, his heir, was found liable for the payment. 

1457, Humphrey Abercromby had a crown charter on Herthill, Pitmedden, 
Petmachy, and eighth part of Ardoyne. His son Alexander succeeded him. 

1484, Alexander Abercromby got sasine of the same lands as heir to his father, 
Alexander. They succeeded James Abercromby of Ley and Birkenbog, designed also of 
Pitmedden, one of the victims of Flodden. 

1505, George Abercromby was retoured heir to his father, Alexander, in the same 

Aquhorties. 235 

1544, William Abercromby, eldest son, and heir of James Abercromby of 
Pitmedden, feued Westhall from Laurence Young, chaplain, with consent of William, 
Bishop of Aberdeen. 

1570, John Abercromby of Westhall, son of James of Pitmedden, was minister of 

Circa, 1593, Alexander Abercromby of Birkenbog, married Margaret Leslie, 
daughter of William, ninth Baron of Balquhain, the first laird of Fetternear. 

1626, Hector Abercromby, their second son, acquired the wadset right of 

1670, Alexander Abercromby, succeeding Hector, his father, had a papal charter of 
Fetternear. He married Jean, daughter of John Seton of Newark, and by her had 
Francis Abercromby, their eldest son, who succeeded to Fetternear. He married Anna, 
Baroness Sempill, who died in 1698. Francis Abercromby was in 1685 created Lord 
Glasfoord, for his own lifetime only. He sold Fetternear to Patrick Leslie of Balquhain 
in 1690. His descendants by Lady Sempill bear the title of Baron Sempill. 


The estate of Newton, in the parish of Culsalmond, one of the possessions of the 
Abbey of Lindores was, about 1600, in the hands of George Gordon, second son of 
George, the third Gordon of Lesmoir. The Gordons of Newton possessed the pro- 
perty until well through the century, when it was sold to Alexander Davidson. The 
family inter-married extensively with the Garioch lairds, and in the "troubles" were 
among the must prominent supporters of their chief, the Marquis of Huntly. 


Among the changes occurring in the first half of the seventeenth century, was the 
disappearance of the Mortimers, formerly of Aquhorties, from the roll of landholders, 
and the transfer of the estates of Craigicvar and Fintray, to the family of Forbes still 
possessing them. In 1610, John Mortimer, and Helen Symers, his spouse, sold Craigie- 
var to Master William Forbes of Meny; and, in 1617, Mr. William Forbes, and William, 
his eldest son, had Logie Fintray erected into a Baron}', comprehending the lands of 
Logie Fintray and Frosterseat, with the advowsons of the churches of Fintray, Cul- 
salmond, Kincardine O'Neil, Glentanner, Lumphannan, Cluny, Midmar, and Auchter- 
coull. The right of presentation to most of these churches remained in the Craigievar 
Forbes family until the abolition of patronage in 1875. 

When Aquhorties, Blairdaff, and Aquhorsk were given by Sir Andrew de Leslie, 
dominus ejiisdem, to his sister and her husband, David de Abercromby, hi 1391, the 
wife of the contemporary laird of Balquhain, Sir Andrew Leslie, was Isabel, daughter of 
Bernard Mortimer of Craigievar. In 1513, his descendant, William Mortimer of 
Craigievar, was infeft in half of the above lands, and his descendants held the whole of 

236 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

tliem. Some of them must have resided on the place in 1535, when four Mortimers 
appear, including a female, voting in the election of a parish clerk of Inverurie. Mortimer 
of Craigievar received or granted charters of Aquhorties lands down to 1627 — William, 
in 1528 ; William, in 1554, when John, the grandson of Alexander, was his heir; George, 
in 1563; William, in 1573; James, in 1594. James Mortimer disponed the sun half, 
in 1616, to John Leslie, fiar of Balquhain, and the shadow-half, in 1627, to James 
Leslie, second son of the laird of Pitcaple, who appears repeatedly in Mr. Mill's 
registers. John Mortimer of Craigievar was buried at Aberdeen, in July, 1615, and 
James Mortimer sometime of Craigievar, in September, 1631. The Mortimers had 
been partially alienating Aquhorties before 1616. In 1588, Thomas Dempster appears 
possessing the shadow-half. In 1607, James Johnston, rector of Monymusk, executed 
at Caskieben, a charter to his second son James of a solar third of Aquhorties, con- 
firmed by James Mortimer, fiar of Craigievar, and in 1611, Thomas Dempster of 
Aquhorties appears witness to a sasine on a solar plough of Fetternear, belonging to 
George Leslie of KLncraigie. Later in the century, William Robertson of Aquhorties 
lived in Inverurie, from 1638 to 1646, and in 1663, Major Thomas Forbes of Aquhorties. 
Patrick Leslie of Kincraigie resigned Aquhorties in 1688, to Patrick Leslie of Balquhain. 


Monymusk was one of the ecclesiastical properties that came into secular lairdship 
before the Reformation. Prior David Farlie and his coadjutor, John Elphinstone, then 
heads of the Priory, made that estate over in 1549, to Mr. Duncan Forbes; and his son, 
named William Forbes, got the ruinous buildings of the Monastery, sometime after 1556, 
from Robert Forbes, then the Commendator, out of which the mansion house was after- 
wards erected. 

James, second Lord Forbes, by his wife Egidia Keith, daughter of William, first 
Earl Marischal, had three sons, William, Master of Forbes, Duncan Forbes of 
Corsindae, and Patrick Forbes of Corse, ancestor of the Forbeses of Craigievar. 

Duncan Forbes of Corsindae had a son, William of Corsindae, whose second son 
was Duncan Forbes of Monymusk ; who in 1554 had a crown charter of Coclarachie, 
and in 1581, another of the teinds of Torry, near Aberdeen, with certain salmon fishings 
on the river Dee. He had a son, John, afterwards Forbes of Camphill, who was pre- 
sented in 1572, by the king, to the parish of Monymusk, but was not admitted. Duncan 
died in 1587. His wife's name was Agnes Gray, daughter of Baillie William Gray of 

William Forbes of Monyrnusk, his eldest son, married his neighbour, Margaret 
Douglas, daughter of Sir William Douglas of Kemnay, who, in 1588, became ninth 
Earl of Angus. By her he had two sons, of whom the second, John Forbes, acquired 
the lands of Leslie from George, the last Leslie of that Ilk. Isabel Forbes, their eldest 

Forbes of Leslie. 237 

daughter, married Gordon of Newton. Both sons figured in the "troubles" of the Civil 
"War, active Covenanters. 

Sir William Forbes, the eldest son, succeeded before 1618, when he had a charter 
of Portlethen, and another of the barony of Torry, both in Kincardineshire, in favour of 
himself and Elizabeth Wishart of Pitarrow, his wife. He was created a Knight Baronet 
of Scotland and Nova Scotia in 1626, by Charles I. His eldest daughter, Jean, married 
the parson of Monymusk, Mr. Alexander Lunan, who removed to Kintore in 1628. 

His son, Sir William Forbes, second Baronet, married Jean, daughter of Sir Thomas 
Burnet of Leys, by whom he had, besides one daughter, a son (laird in 1653, but a minor), 

Sir John Forbes, third baronet ; who was twice married. His first wife, Margaret, 
daughter of Eobert, first Viscount Arbuthnot, was the mother of his heir. By his 
second wife, Barbara, daughter of Sir John Dalmahoy of that Ilk, in Midlothian, he 
had among other children, Barbara, who married Thomas Mitchell of Thainston, whose 
only daughter, Barbara Mitchell, wedded her namesake, Andrew, afterwards Sir Andrew, 
Mitchell of Thainston, British Minister at the Court of Frederick the Great of Prussia. 

Sir William Forbes, fourth Baronet, was served heir to his father in 1702. About 
1680 he had married Lady Jean Keith, daughter of John, first Earl of Kintore. Their 
third daughter, Jean, married in 1719, Mr. George Moir, Minister of Towie. Mary, 
their fourth daughter, married William Urquhart of Meldrum. Their elder son, John 
Forbes, who predeceased his father, married the Honourable Mary Forbes, daughter of 
Alexander, third Lord Pitsligo. She was the oidy sister of Alexander, fourth Lord 
Pitsligo, who was forfeited for his joining in the rebellion of 1745, and died at Auchiries 
in Eathen, in December, 1762 ; and when Lord Pitsligo's only son John died without 
issue in 1781, her descendants represented the Pitsligo line. The Forbeses sold the estate 
of Monymusk, in 1712, for £116,000 Scots, to Sir Francis Grant of Cullen, one of 
the Senators of the College of Justice. 

Sir AVilliam Forbes, fifth Baronet, son of John, succeeded his grandfather. Sir 
William was an advocate in Edinburgh, and was Professor of Civd Law in King's 
College, Aberdeen. His eldest son John died young. He himself died, aged 36, in 
1643, and was buried at Kearn. 

Sir William, sixth Baronet, his second son, succeeded to the title, in 1643. Through 
the death of John, Master of Pitsligo, in 1781 he became Sir William Forbes of 
Pitsligo, and from him is descended in the direct male line the representatives of the 
Forbes of Pitsligo and Fettercairn. This Baronet was the senior partner of the eminent 
banking firm in Edinburgh, Sir William Forbes, Hunter, and Company. 


John Forbes, second son of William Forbes of Monymusk, and Lady Margaret 

Douglas, obtained the lands of Leslie, about 1620, from George Leslie of that Ilk, 

having paid the debts lying upon them. He married Jean Leslie, sister of Patrick 

second Lord Liudores, from whom he is said to have got for a trifling sum a considerable 

238 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garloch. 

portion of the estates of that quickly dissipated Lordship. He bought Edingarroch and 
Licklykead from Patrick Leith in 1625. Along with John Leslie, younger, of Pitcaple, 
he made a representation to the Covenanting Lords against the blockade of the harbour 
of Aberdeen, 31st May, 1639. An active covenanter, he had his property of Durris 
on Deeside plundered, and was himself engaged in the burning of Pitcaple Castle, 9th 
September, 1645, at the time when Messrs Jaffray and Cant were prisoners there. 

He was succeeded by William Forbes, his son, who, according to his tombstone 
in the kirkyard of Leslie, " lyved fifty-fyve yeers, and departed this lyfe, November 
12, 1670 yeers". He is believed to have been the continuator of Mr. Matthew 
Lumsden's Genealogy of the family of Forbes, from his death in 1580 to 1665. Leslie 
Castle — now a picturesque ruin, which might have been preserved at little cost in a 
habitable condition — was rebuilt or repaired by him, as appears by an inscription on the 
wall, dated 17th June, 1661. 

John Forbes of Leslie, his son and successor, married, in 1662, Helen Scot, 
daughter of the laird of Ardross, in Fife, by whom he had several daughters. One of 
these, Christian Forbes, was married, first to John Skene of Dyce, and secondly, in 
October, 1734, to John Paton of Grandholme. To John Leslie, David, his younger 
brother, was served heir in October, 1691 ; but soon thereafter the lands of Leslie were 
purchased by John Leith of Leithhall, the great-grandnephew of Patrick Leith of 
Edingarroch, who had sold part of them to John Forbes, the first of Leslie. 


The early part of the seventeenth century might be termed the period of wadsets ; 
so frequent was the burdening of landed property, doubtless occasioned, in a great 
degree, by the distress of the times. A list of "Wadsetters in Aberdeenshire, made up by 
the Sheriff in 1633-34, contains the following names of creditors and reversers in wadsets, 
resident in Inverurie and elsewhere in that neighbourhood. They are of interest as 
showing us some of the witnesses, as well as active participators, in the " troubles ". 

James Leslie of Auchorthies ; John Mackie, notar, Inverurie : Hector Abercromby 
of Fetternear ; Thomas Bruce in Kemnay ; James Black in Inverurie ; Mr. John 
Cheyne, Parson of Kinkell ; Charles Dune in Kinkell ; Sir John Leslie of Wardes ; 
George Chalmer of Balbithan ; James Crichtoun of Frendraucht ; George Leslie of 
Crichie ; Thomas Erskine of Balhaggarty; Walter Forbes of Thaynistoun; John Leith of 
Harthill ; George Leslie, elder of Kincraigie ; Sir William Forbes of Craigievar ; George 
Leslie, portioner of Inverurie ; John Leslie of Balquhain ; George Leslie of Eothmaise ; 
John Leslie of Pitcaple ; John Irving of Balbithan ; Sir George Johnston of that Ilk ; 
Sir William Forbes of Monymusk ; Andrew Steven in Kinmuck ; George Gray in 
Isaackstown ; John Forbes of Ardmurdo ; John Keith in Achorsk and Eobert Keith 
his brother ; Adam Abercromby of Auld Eayne ; Mr. William Chalmer of Wester 
Disblair; Sir Alexander Gordon of Cluny ; George Gordon of Newton; Mr. Andrew 

Clerical Changes after 1600. 239 

Logie, Parson of Eayne ; William Seton of Meldrum ; Alexander, Master of Forbes ; 
John Forbes of Leslie ; Patrick Leith of Whitehaugh ; Alexander Chaliner in Kinkell ; 
"William Smyth in Blairdaff ; Widow Gray in Ardmurdo ; Alexander Smyth in Cowlie ; 
Marie Cruickskank, guidwyfe of Bothniaise. 


Logie Durno was served for some years after 1608, by Mr. Andrew Strachan, 
formerly a regent in King's College, who returned thither in 1633, to become Divinity 
Professor ; when his brother, Alexander Strachan, succeeded him in Logie Durno parish. 

Bourtie was under the long-lived Mr. Gilbert Keith till the second Episcopacy. A 
namesake, possibly a relative, was presented at a later period to Dunnottar by Earl 

In Culsalmond, George Leith, University Eegent, succeeded Thomas Spens before 
1635, and in 1647 Arthur Ore succeeded, and remained for the whole remaining period 
of the Covenant, dying in 1664, on Sunday, 16th September. 

In Daviot, after 1608, was the minister of Inverurie's friend, Mr. William 
Strachan ; afterwards a stiff opponent of the Covenant, whose politics cost him his place 
in 1649. 

At Insch, John Logie, son of an advocate, presented while a student, was minister 
from 1607 to 1613, after which he went to Bethelny. Alexander Eoss, son of Mr. 
James Eoss, minister of Aberdeen, left Insch, for Footdee. in 1631 ; and another 
Alexander Eoss succeeded, and held the cure for a time, at least from 1651 to 1660. 

Inverurie lost Mr. James Mill about 1643, and Mr. William Forbes appears in his 
place in 1644. 

Monkegy ceased to be under the charge of the minister of Inverurie in 1630, and 
got for its first incumbent Mr. Samuel Walcar, a long-lived witness of ecclesiastical 
changes, amidst which he was himself deprived and excommunicated for " malignancy " 
(the crime of favouring the cause of Charles I.) ; he was relieved soon from excom- 
munication, after well-catechised penitence ; and, under the second Episcopacy, was re- 
stored to his parish, as having been illegally extruded. 

The Kinkell chaplainry of Kemnay was erected into a parish, by the Assembly, in 
1632 ; and Alexander Sibbald brought from Kinneff to serve the cure. His successor, 
John Seaton, Eegent in Marischal College, was there from before 1641 to 1649, when 
he left for Foveran, and was succeeded by Mr. David Leith, deprived in 1653 for de- 
serting his parish. Dr. Scott (Fasti) calls him Leiche, and says he was made D.D. in 1653. 

At Kinkell, Mr. Mill's baptism registers show Mr. John Walcar no longer there, 
but Mr. Patrick Leslie. It is suggested in Scott's Fasti, that Mr. Leslie was helper to 
Mr. John Cheyne, whom Dr. Scott believes to have been minister of Kinkell from 1623 
to 1643. William Leith is also called minister of Kinkell in 1640. He was deprived in 

240 Inverurie unci the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Archibald Bait continued at Kintore from 1602 to 1624; Mr. Alexander Lunan 
came thither from Monymusk in 1625. In 1632, he married Jean, eldest daughter of 
Sir William Forbes, first baronet of Monymusk. (Their son, William Lunan, born at 
Kintore in 1633, had a son, William, born at Delab, in Monymusk, 8th Nov., 1664, 
who married Isabel, daughter of William Thain of Blackball, 4th October, 1691. Their 
fourth child, John Lunan, born 1698, had a daughter, Jane, married 21st December, 
1748, to David Shirreffs, by whom she had two sons, Alexander Shirrefs, Advocate, 
Aberdeen, and Dr. James Shirrefs, minister of the West Kirk there). Mr. John Cheyne 
was minister of Kintore in March, 1645, when he entertained the Marquis of Montrose in 
the manse there. Andrew Strachan, translated from Tullynessle, succeeded Mr. Cheyne 
before 1649, and was minister of Kintore until his death in 1679. 

In Leslie, John Middleton — a zealous Covenanter in his time — was incumbent some 
time after Mr. Forbes, and was translated to Bayne in 1643, leaving the pulpit of Leslie 
open to the services of Duncan Forbes, fourth son of Duncan Forbes of Byth. John 
Gellie, younger, took his place in 1647, and left for Kinkell in 1651. 

Stephen Mason's successor, after 1614, at Bethelny, was John Logie, formerly the 
minister of Insch, who again left for Bathven in 1629. William Wedderburn. Begent 
in Marischal College, presented by Charles I., 1st November, 1633, was repeatedly under 
censure. George Leith, transported from Culsalmond, was minister of Bethelny from 
1647 until after 1660. 

At Monymusk, James Irvine, translated from Tough, was, after some delay, 
admitted in 1613, but was deprived before October, 1615. William Forbes was 
presented by James VI., and translated from Alford, 1615, and went in a year or two to 
Aberdeen. Thomas Forbes succeeded him, and demitted before 1622 ; Adam Barclay, 
minister of Leochel, being next incumbent until he changed to Alford, in 1625. In that 
year, Charles I. presented to the living of Monymusk, Alexander Lunan, regent in 
King's College, Aberdeen, who next appears as minister of Kintore in 1628. The 
King's next presentee was John Gellie, elder, minister of Fremnay, a Covenanter, who 
continued from 1629 until his death about 1652. He is still represented in Aberdeen- 
shire. A quickly carried out call translated Alexander Boss from Kinernie in October, 
1653 ; and he continued at Monymusk until his death, after March, 1674. By his wife, 
Anna, daughter of John Forbes of Balfluig in Alford, he was father of Dr. John Boss, 
minister of Foveran, and of Bishop Boss of Edmburgh. 

Mr. Bobert Burnet, the moderator of the Presbytery, continued at Oyne until 
1613. An Alexander Burnet was there — possibly assistant — from 1613 to 1615 ; and 
one William Burnet was minister from 1647 to 1660 — the interval of the Covenanting 
rule — disappearing before John Strachan, son of the minister of Kintore, appointed 
about 1661. 

How long Bobert Irving remained at Premnay after 1608, does not appear. John 
Gellie was translated from Premnay to Monymusk, after September, 1629. His 

Clerical Changes after 1600. 241 

successor, George Myln, had a long incumbency. He had. been a regent of King's 
College, and was Clerk of the Synod of Aberdeen during much of the Covenant period, 
and under the second Episcopacy, until 1664. He died in 1669. 

One of Mr. Mill's christening witnesses in 1632, Mr. Andro Logie, was twice 
minister at Eayne. He succeeded Mr. Abercromby sometime before 1624. He was a 
steady opponent of the Covenant, and had a son, Captain John Logie, who suffered 
death by beheading at the Cross of Edinburgh, along with John Gordon of Haddo, in 
July, 1644, in tbe cause of Charles I. Logie was deposed in 1640. The sentence was 
relaxed in the next year; but he was again deprived in 1643. Two Middletons succeeded 
him, John, a Covenanter, who died in 1653, and Alexander, of the opposite politics, 
whom the Covenanting party turned out of the Sub-Principalship of King's College. 
Mr. Logie was restored, in 1662, to the pastoral charge of Rayne, on the restoration of 

The Garioch clergy of the seventeenth century had evidently held a good literary 
position. Several of them were University teachers, as Regents, before being appointed 
to parishes. Robert Burnet was promoted to Oyne from that University position in 
1596, Alexander Lunan to Monymusk in 1625, Andrew Strachan before that time to 
Logie Durno, from which he returned as Divinity Professor to the University again 
in 1633 ; William Wedderburn to Bethelny in 1633, George Leith to Culsalmond before 
1635, John Seaton to Kemnay in 1641, George Myln to Premnay after 1628. 
Alexander Middleton, minister of Rayne in 1656, had been Sub-Principal of King's 
College. Several of those who lived in the most troubled periods of the seventeenth 
century, won for themselves some literary reputation. Dr. David Leith, minister of 
Kemnay from 1650 to 1653, corresponded with Drummond of Hawthornden, and is 
spoken of by Sir Thomas Urquhart as a most fluent poet in the Latin tongue, an ex- 
quisite philosopher, and a profound theologian. He had published a work called 
Philusoplda Illachryma in 1633. A volume of Latin poems, Parerga, appeared at 
London in 1657, and he also printed Oratio Funebris in obitum Patricii Episcopi 
Ahenlonensis. ■ Andrew Logie, who was minister at Rayne under both Episcopacies, and 
a deposed minister in the interval, was the author of several polemical writings against 
both Roman Catholics and Presbyterians. Scott's Fasti also notices a religious work on 
the festivals of the Church, by Alexander Lunan, the last indulged minister of Daviot, 
and one on Rhetoric, by Robert Brown, minister of Bourtie, from 1666 to 1675. Mr. 
Brown's initials and the date 1671 are upon an ornate wooden collection ladle still 
preserved in Bourtie. 

How did the various rectors, parsons, and ministers contrive to exist upon the small 
allowances conceded by such arrangements as King James had made for his Kirk in that 
ecclesiastical age; when he also created as Bishops, Churchmen who were styled 
" Tulchans " — or mediums for allowing of the benefices being sucked of their revenues 
for the benefit of the Lay Impropriators? 


242 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Perhaps young parsons, in those days, took example from impoverished lords and 
lairds, who, then as well as since, married where money chanced to come along with the 
object of affection. Mr. Mill of Inverurie wedded a wealthy widow, old enough to have 
been his mother, if he had married as young as did Alexander Jaffray, junior. Mr. 
Robert Burnet, the parson of Oyne, had performed much the same exploit before him ; 
and figures, in Barclay's Protocol in 1601, as having a large claim upon Gight, on the 
part of his wife, Marjory Auchinleck, widow of Captain John Gordon. The poverty of 
the clergy became at length so great a scandal that King James passed an Act, in 1617, 
raising their stipends to the minimum value of 500 merks — with 800 merks as a maxi- 
mum endowment. 


The numerous cases of social depression which marked the first half of the 17th 
century in the Garioch included the Balquhain family. The cause was partly that 
already referred to — the extravagance of two of the Balquhain lairds. Another cause 
was, however, of a more public nature. The Leslies belonged to the party of the Marquis 
of Huntly, whose bonds of manrent had drawn around him such a following as alarmed 
the first Charles, to whom the great noble's power appeared incompatible with that 
exercise of sovereignty which lie, the first declarer of divine right, believed that a king 
ought to possess. Huntly had been a great favourite with the more light-minded King 
James, whose good fortune as actual inheritor of the English throne, allowed him to be 
tolerated in many an attempt on the liberties of his Scottish subjects, and made him 
also less exasperated by the effectual resistance which his encroachments frequently en- 

King James had, however, in his time, been forced into laying the strong hand upon 
the Cock of the North when the papist conspiracy was active, and had destroyed his 
Castle of Strathbogy; at which time he also inflicted similar punishment upon Huntly 's 
clansman, Gordon of Newton. 

His successor, Charles, of a more determined temper, and more grave in character, 
never let drop what he planned, but waited opportunities of advancing towards his 
purpose. He set about undermining Huntly's local influence by increasing the power 
and position of that nobleman's neighbours, while he lowered the official condition of the 
great Marquis by depriving him of the hereditary Sheriffships of Aberdeen and Inver- 
ness. Sir George Johnston of Caskieben, who, in 1630, was the first Sheriff-Principal 
of Aberdeenshire appointed after Huntly, belonged to the faction opposed to the Gordons ; 
and it is possible the Baronetcy granted to Caskieben, some years before, was conferred 
not without the intention of elevating one who was a steady opponent of the Marquis's 

James Crichton of Frendraught was made the chief agent in the design of King 
Charles of fomenting local opposition to the powerful Marquis ; and the tragedy of the 

The Marquis of Huntly. 243 

Burning of Frendraught, in October, 1630, noticed by Mr. Mill in bis register of the 
birth of his own eldest son, was indirectly the result of this weak royal policy. 

The favourite — Crichton — did not possess power sufficient for the position of 
local opponent of the great chief who had ruled the North for long. The vassal families 
of the Huntly league were settled all around Frendraught. The habits of the time afforded 
ample opportunity for quarrels, ending in bloodshed or slaughter. In one of these ren- 
contres "James Leslie of Aquhorties was shot through the arm in Frendraught's company" 
by a relative of Crichton's, as already related, and the wounded man's father was watching 
for vengeance at the time when the great tragedy was enacted. Frendraught, possibly 
intoxicated with the royal favour, had sometime let expressions escape him of enmity 
to the Marquis, and these were quoted against him when the Marquis's son lost bis 
life in the conflagration. The day before the burning of his bouse he was at the Bog 
of Gicht, as Gordon Castle was then called, in order to make amends, by a heavy money 
payment, for wrong done to one of the great lord's friends, and was escorted back to 
Frendraught by Viscount Melgum, the Marquis' second son, and a party from the Castle. 
Crichton and his lady pressed the Gordons to remain over the night, and accept a re- 
turn of the hospitality witli which Huntly had entertained him on his errand of peace- 
making. The Gordons consented, and, after an evening spent according to the manner 
of the time, they were all lodged in one wing of the house. Their lodging was not 
shut upon them, as the ballad represents ; but when the outbreak of fire in the middle 
of the night awoke them, all, except three of the party who escaped, seem to have lost 
their presence of mind, and eight persons, including the Viscount and young Eothiemay, 
into whose bedchamber he had run, failed to make their way out, and perished in the 

The fire appears to have been accidental, but the contrary was suspected at the 
time, and a long criminal trial of the Crichtons was held. Several incidents transpired 
that seemed to exculpate them, and to fasten the guilt upon an enemy of the house, 
who, it was believed, had set fire to the building out of private revenge. That individual 
— John Meldrum — was, in August, 1633, tried, convicted, and executed at Edinburgh; 
but this fact did not save Crichton from ruin. He became the unprotected prey of every 
lawless attack upon his property ; and the family ceased, ere long time had elapsed, to 
have a place in the country. 

In 1633, after his acquittal, James Crichton bestowed a set of silver communion 
vessels upon each of the parishes of Forgue, Inverkeithnj', and Marnoch. He filled the 
office of an elder in Forgue in 1640. His son was in 1642 created a Viscount by King 
Charles I., the Laird declining the rank; which was offered him as male representative 
of Lord Chancellor Crichton. The Lady of Frendraught, Lady Elizabeth Gordon, 
eldest daughter of John, twelfth Earl of Sutherland, who had been suspected of the fire- 
raising at Frendraught, turned Eoman Catholic. After the family removed to Kinnairdie, 
in the parish of Marnoch, the Fresbytery of Strathbogy found her ladyship a fit 

241: Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

subject of numerous entries in its minutes. Her communion cup, a silver chalice and 
paten, is in the kirk of Forgue, presented by her son after he had been created a Viscount. 
It is of the kiud made at that period for the use of wandering priests, capable of being 
taken to pieces and carried about easily. The Frendraught estate afterwards passed into 
the hands of the Bognie family, by the marriage of the widow of James Crichton, 
second Viscount Frendraught, with her neighbour and factor, Morison of Bognie. 


The Burgh Court Book of Inverurie and Mr. Mill's entries in his registers afford 
some indications of the excesses gone to in convivial drinking, which so often, as in the 
case of Frendraught, preceded serious acts of violence. A valuable paper by the late Dr. 
Joseph Eobertson, the historical antiquary, presents a picture of drinking habits in the 
Highlands in 1616, which, if unvouched, would now surpass belief. 

The consumption of foreign wines in the Hebrides is illustrated by the fact that 
the arrival of a vessel bringing a cargo of wine from France occasionally drew the whole 
local population near the landing place ; when an orgy took place which was terminated 
only by the exhaustion of the supply that had arrived. The Privy Council felt the ne- 
cessity of imposing restrictive regulations upon the use of French wines by the Highland 
chiefs ; and an energetic attempt was made by the crown to introduce habits of industry 
and domestication among the Celtic population. Broken clans were disinherited ; and 
the Highlands and Islands were partitioned among a few great chiefs from Argyll on 
the south to Seaforth on the north. These were ordered to erect mansion houses, with 
certain amenities, in spots appointed to them ; to establish home farms, as an example 
of cultivation ; and to let portions of land, at fixed rents, to their clansmen, and no 
longer retain these, as idle followers, fed at the chief's table. The chiefs were, at the 
same time, obliged to send their own children to the Lowlands to be educated. 

The quantity of wine which each great landholder was at liberty to purchase, during 
a year, was fixed according to the extent of his dominion ; but the smallest allowance 
was enormous. The least important of them had four hogsheads — equal to about 220 
dozen ; whde some — of whom was Macleod of Dunvegan — might jmrchase four tuns, or 
876 dozen. 

At that period, Ireland, under the great chiefs who then ruled the population, 
frequently in resistance of English rule, presented pictures of even greater drinking and 
excess. Native whisky, or poteen, was a large component of Irish debauches. The 
whisky of Scotland is of later date. Brandy is the only addition to ale, or wine, that 
appears, even in the next century, in the Inverurie Thesaurer's accounts, for the dinners 
and other entertainments of the baillies. Unless otherwise named, wine meant Claret in 
the Lowlands, as well as in the Hebrides and West Highlands. In Aberdeenshire, 
Claret was largely used untd two generations back ; and it was probably sold in bulk in 
the few great fairs, much after the date when Leslie of Pitcaple bought up all the wine 

Social Conditions. 245 

to be got in Lawrence Fair of Eayne, to entertain Charles II. withal, on his way south 
to make his first experience of the Scottish crown. 

The local fairs, which date from an immemorial period, when they began with the 
opportunities afforded for business transactions by the religious gatherings that took 
place on certain saints' days, formed an important feature in social life in the Garioch 
during some centuries preceding the rise of modern agriculture in Aberdeenshire. St. 
Sair's Fair, originally held in Monkegy, now in Culsalmond, Lawrence Fair in Old Eayne, 
Polander (or Apollinaris) Fair in Inverurie, and Michael Fair in Kinkell, are now little 
conspicuous in the Garioch calendar, amidst the unbroken succession of cattle markets 
that have been established to supply London with so much of the roast beef of Old 
England. The saintly association of the old markets, or so much thereof as ever existed, 
seems also lost in the crowd, if one may judge by the advice tendered in Aberdeenshire 
Doric to a minister of Eayne on St. Sair's morning, by one of his parishioners — " Ye're 
nae gaen to the market, sir, I houp 1 " " Foo that, Johnl " " Cause, sir, it's just oon- 
possible, near, to keep fae leein' an' cheatin' ; an' I think that's fat ministers sidna dee." 

The Garioch fairs are still prominent, to some extent, among the markets, and 
exhibit remains of the ancient miscellaneous assemblages of dealers and wares, though 
they have for long ceased to gather together the whole aristocracy of the district, as they 
did when that class was more numerous and continuously resident than is the case now. 

Lawrence Fair, vernacularly Lowrin Fair, stands in the town of Old Eayne — 
originally, it would seem, an Episcopal hamlet, gathered beside a Palace of the Bishop of 
Aberdeen. A market cross, of great age, still rears its rough granite pedestal in a widened 
part of the highway. Here, in the end of the 14th century, Archdeacon John Barbour, 
the parson of Eayne, had, we may believe, many a glowing talk about the hero of his 
immortal poem, the Patriot King, with old men who had marched by Brace's sick 
litter, on the snowy Martinmas, to Slevach ; or who had, at the following Yule, followed 
the warrior in hot haste from Ardtannies, in his impetuous ride through Inverurie, when 
he broke the power of the Comyn, and fairly began his triumph in the cause of Scot- 
land's freedom — that " nobyll thynge ". In the next century, standing by the old cross, 
Winton, the famous " cronikler," may have enriched his knowledge of his chosen subject 
of poetical laudation— the Yerl o' Man — in meeting with old Harlaw men. He had 
relatives who were portioncrs near the Blessed Virgin's Chapel of the Garioch. 

In the beginning of the 17th century we find the market customs levied at the 
fair, a matter of such moment to the Aberdeenshire lairds, and even to the city of Bon- 
Accord itself, as to make them unite in trying to bring the heavy hand of the Court of 
Session down upon the superiors of the markets, i.e., the receivers of the market dues. 

Harthill, and the superiority of Lawrence Fair, belonged, before 1606, to the Leiths, 
who held the lands until a later period, and who took a prominent part on the side of 
Charles I. in the civil war. The subjoined extract from the burgh records of Aberdeen, 
bearing date 1st April, 1606, indicates a disposition towards high-handed behaviour, 

24:6 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

which the ecclesiastical records of the neighbourhood exhibit in the same family at a 
later date : — George Leslie of Creychie, in name of the Council and Community, and 
also in that of " Johne Leslie of Wardess, Johne Leslie of Pettcappil, George Leslie of 
Creychie, George Leslie of Auld Craig, James Arbuthnot of Lentusche, for thame selffis, 
and utheris thair tennentis and servandis " had raised letters summoning John Leith, 
elder of Harthill, and John Leith, younger, his son, to compear before the Lords of 
Council for imposing an exorbitant tax on goods sold at St. Lawrence Fair, in Auld 
Eayne. The charge made had been — for every stand set down for holding of merchan- 
dises, 13s. 4d. ; for every ox, cow, or horse, 16d. ; for every sheep, 8d. ; for every stone 
of wool, one pound of it ; for every elne of linen, or woollen cloth, 4d. 

The following ditty evidently belongs to the Garioch of a more recent century, but 
exhibits the miscellaneous character of the merchandise then still sold : — 

Oh, minnie, I'm gaen to Lowrin Fair, 
Oh, Jamie, fat are ye gaen to dee there ? 
To buy some harrow-graith and some bows, 
To strick up a pleuch in Ba'eairn's knowes : 

Sae whilk o' ye lasses '11 gang to Ba'caim ? 

Whilk o' ye lasses '11 gang to Ba'cairn ? 

Whilk o' ye lasses '11 gang to Ba'cairn, 

An' be the goodwife o' bonny Ba'cairn ? 

I'm nae for the lass wi' the gowden locks, 
Nor yet for the lass \vi' the ribbon-knota, 
But I'm for the lass wi' the bonny bank-notes, 
To plenis' the haudin' o' bonny Ba'cairn. 
Sae whilk o' ye lasses, &c. 

An' I'll get a thiggin' fae aul John Black, 
An' I'll get ane fae the Leddie o' Glack, 
Wi' some harrow-graith fae James Gray, 
For haudin' his owsen sae lang on the brae. 
Sae whilk o' ye lasses, &c. 

There sits a man on Ba'eairn's knowes, 
Wi' legs as crooket as twa owson bows ; 
'Twad set him far better to be herdin' at yowes, 
Than fermin' the haudin' o' bonny Ba'cairn. 

Sae whilk o' ye lasses '11 gang to Ba'cairn ? 

Oh, whilk o' ye lasses '11 gang to Ba'cairn 1 

Whilk o' ye lasses '11 gang to Ba'cairn, 

An' be the goodwife o' bonny Ba'cairn ? 

The extracts from the Inverurie registers afford some insight into the social position 
at that day of the dwellers in the Eoyal Burgh. Many possessed, at the time of their 
decease, some means. A few families had members " pushing their fortunes abroad," in 
Northern Germany or Poland — the land of enterprise of the time. Some householders in 
tha burgh employed servants, but merely as a help in their own labour, and not as 
substitutes. Few in the burghal community rose, in means or dignity, above the 
common level, so much as to esnimand reverence without asserting it ; and the trans- 
ference of the magistracy from men of wealth and family like the Lairds of Caskieben 
and Kincraigie, who would sign council minutes and decrees with their territorial 

Social Conditions. 247 

designation, to a burgage rood proprietor of a rig or two, occasioned some difficulty 
in keeping up that observance of respect for the bench which is considered essential to 
good government. 

Baillie Alexander Hervie had evidently found the Chief Magistrate's wand of office 
no magic sceptre. He was, likely enough, a fussy upsetting body, and would not, may- 
hap, be the more respected for having attained his position, as a principal burgh laird, 
through marriage with the widow of the wealthy head of an old family — the brewer, 
Norman Leslie. Hervie also complained over-much about his dignity being disregarded ; 
and was, it is probable, more solicitous in caring for it, and more anxious to acquire 
fresh honours, than the baillies of Inverurie of older standing, and of more established 
social position, had deemed it needful, or meet, to be. Baillie Hervie does not appear, in 
the minister's registers of christenings and burials, as associating with the neighbouring 
gentry, like his predecessors and successors in the civic- dignity. He is, however, the 
first who appears, in the extant burgh records, as seeking the position of member of 
Parliament for the Burgh. The provision made at that time for upholding the repre- 
sentatives of the royal burgh in the Supreme Council of the nation was not extravagant. 
A sum of 40 lbs. Scots was ordained to be paid to the Commissioner by the Thesaurer of 
the Burgh. 

The Assemblage of the Scottish legislators, about that period, within the ancient 
Hall of Parliament at Edinburgh, must have been a motley one, and doubtless included, 
at times, some as ragged elements as the beautiful chamber, now known as the Parlia- 
ment House, occasionally presents in the different class which is fascinated by its dire 
attractions. Sixty years later than the time of Baillie Hervie's parliamentary career, the 
'Fife burghs are recorded as having, in some cases, to provide large cloaks, to be worn by 
their Commissioners, when seated among the nobles, knights of shires, and well-to-do repre- 
sentatives of the larger towns, so that the imperfect state of their garments might not 
appear, and put them, and the royal burghs represented by them, to shame. The Com- 
missioners were paid 6s. 8d. daily, during their attendance; and in Anstruther, in 1686, 
the Baillies and Council, considering that the heavier burdens of that burgh made it un- 
able to send and keep a Commissioner to attend to their interests in Parliament, for 
warded a blank commission — along with a blank burgess ticket, or diploma — to the King's 
Commissioner, in order that the Kepresentative of Eoyalty might, himself, select some 
suitable man to act as a burgess and as M.P. for that burgh, in that Convention of 

John Leslie — fiar of Balquhain — sat in the same parliament with Baillie Hervie as 
one of the two members chosen for the Shire of Aberdeen. The other Commissioner for 
the county, elected along with Balquhain, was Mr. John Cheyne of Arnage. At this, 
the earliest, election for Members of Parliament appearing in the Sheriff Court records 
of Aberdeen, twenty-two barons and freeholders of the shire are mentioned in Kennedy's 
Annals of Aberdeen as having been convened at the Michaelmas Head Court, held 

248 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Gariocli. 

within the Tolbooth of Aberdeen, on 1st October, 1616. Among them were several 
lairds belonging to the Garioch, viz., John Setonne of Meldrum, John Leslie of 
Wardes, John Leslie of Pitcappill, George Johnstone of yat Ilk, John Erskine of 
Balhagartie, and ]NIr. George Settone of Barra. 


"When Scotland, from the Solway Firth to Caithness, gave adherence to the Solemn 
League and Covenant, the City of Aberdeen and most part of the County persistently 
refused to accept it. The consequence was that Aberdeenshire, and, in a marked degree, 
its central district, the Garioch, became a principal theatre of the " troubles," as Spald- 
ing terms them, which characterised the beginning of the Covenanting times, but which 
were too soon succeeded elsewhere by events of an appalling nature. 

The Civil War began its afterwards tragic course with some plundering in the 
Garioch. A portion of the local ministers soon afterwards found themselves in prison ; 
and the exercise of ecclesiastical discipline, on account of the political question of the 
Covenant, brought on, in that district, a social struggle of ten years' duration, which, 
involving, as it did, all classes of the community, renders the history of it an instructive 
study of the peculiar cause and times. 

Aberdeenshire had not had so much reason as some other parts of Scotland to be 
discontented with the Presbyterian Episcopacy, which had been the form of the National 
Church since the Reformation, with the exception of the years between 1592 and 1606. 
The Bishops of Aberdeen whom King James had added to the Presbyterian Synod of 
the Church had been men of good sense ; and it is likely that they had exercised their 
functions with better understanding and acceptance, that after 1606, they belonged to 
or were connected with local families. The first of the new line of Bishops introduced 
at that date was Mr. Peter Blackburn, already well-known as an Aberdeen clergyman, 
and one of the original Eegents of the Earl Marischal's new College. Bishop Blackburn 
cultivated popularity — although not with complete success — by abstaining from exacting 
his Episcopal dues. His successor, Alexander Forbes, bishop from 1615 to 1618, was 
a son of the laird of Ardmurdo, in the parish of Kinkell. After him an exceptionally 
worthy prelate had been appointed — Patrick Forbes — himself the laird of Corse, in 
Coull parish, and who, from 1618 to 1635, fulfilled the duties of his prominent position 
with the most beneficial results to his diocese ; in especial, by his government of the two 
universities under his care, -conferring such benefit upon the community as made his 
name worthy to be connected with that of the originator of university education in the 
North. Bishop Patrick Forbes had found both Bishop Elphinstone's and the Earl 
Marischal's Colleges in a disorganised condition, and nurtured them back into such effi- 
ciency as for long placed Aberdeen before the other University seats in Scotland. He 
was paralytic for several years before his death, and able only to be carried to church, 

Eve of the Covenant. 249 

or to preside in the Synod; and he died on Easter Eve, 1635, two years before the first 
private conferences began which resulted in the Solemn League and Covenant. 

The Aberdeen Doctors, often referred to in the history of that period as having 
alone in Scotland entered into argumentative controversy with the leaders of the Cove- 
nant, were but the exponents of the political sentiment which prevailed in the district. 
These courageous worthies were the Bishop's son, Dr. John Forbes, Professor of Divinity 
in King's College ; Dr. Eobert Baron, Professor of Divinity, and Minister in Aberdeen ; 
Dr. Alexander Scrogie, Minister of Old Aberdeen ; Dr. William Leslie, Principal 
of King's College; and Drs. James Sibbald and Alexander Eoss, both Ministers in 

Perhaps there still existed the restraining influence of the sharp check which King 
James administered to freedom of opinion on the occasion of the Aberdeen Assembly of 
160-4 ; but there was in the district at the time a leaven of the element of society then 
most antagonistic to the Covenanting Church. The General Assembly of 1606 com- 
plained to the King that the Papist Earls of Huntly and Erroll, and the lairds of Gicht 
and Newton, were always protected from the efforts of the Church to bring them to the 
knowledge of the truth, legal writs being granted, discharging the Church Courts from 
exercising upon them the necessary discipline. In the year 1637, Father Gilbert 
Blakhall was perambulating the shires of Aberdeen and Banff as a missionary of the 
Eomish Church notwithstanding the penal laws enacted in the beginning of the King's 
reign. Blakhall made his rounds periodically to certain stations to hear confession ; his 
houses of call being Blair, Schivas, Gicht, Artrochy, Cruden, Strathbogy, Cairnburrow 
and Craig. The laird of New Leslie, and his daughter, sometimes confessed at Cairnbur- 
row, where also others met the Father. In Huntly — then called the Eaws of Strathbogie 
— he received the poor Catholics at an hostelry kept by one Eobert Eennie. The laird 
of Blair himself — Dr. James Seton — a physician, was, sometime later, looked upon by the 
Church Courts as, under cover of his medical opportunities, a propagator of the for- 
bidden faith. 

Of the local families, the Leslies, Leiths, Urquharts, Setons, Abercrombys, and 
Gordons, were avowed, or concealed Papists. The Elphinstones and Johnstons were 
supporters of the King in the political struggle. Sir Thomas Crombie of Kemnay 
appears as a frequent sufferer at the hands of the Covenanters. A family now unrepre- 
sented in the Garioch, Wood of Bonnyton, appears at that time extensively intermarry- 
ing with the Leslies, Elphinstones, &c, and evidently was of the Catholic party. 

The rule of the Church, when the Covenant became dominant, was not far from 
creating a reign of terror ; and strange changes of part in the drama occurred — the 
Gordons of Newton appearing at one time as elders in the parish church of Culsalmond, 
and being at another extruded as obstinate recusants. George Gordon of Newton, second 
son of the third Gordon of Lesmoir, by Katharine Forbes of Tolquhon, his wife, was 
as well as his son, mixed up with the acts of the Popish Marquis of Huntly, as were 


250 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

also Gordon of Haddo, Gordon of Gicht, and Patrick Gordon, nicknamed Steelhand. 
George Leslie of Badiefurrow is not mentioned in the politics of the time, but his wife, 
Magdalene "Wood of Bonnyton, was excommunicated for Popery. Sir George Johnston 
was out of his estate, and does not appear in the troubles, except as subscribing the 
Covenant, at the instance of the Presbytery, for the second time, about 1650. His 
uncle, Dr. Arthur Johnston, was Eector of King's College in 1G37, but it is likely was 
not, at that time, permanently resident in Aberdeenshire. 

The successive heads of the Balquhain family were mostly abroad during the Civil 
"War. John Leslie, the twelfth baron, was a Protestant, and served, from 1639 to 1647, 
in the Scottish army under Field-Marshal Leslie, the leader of the Covenanting army, 
and subserviently of that sent into England in support of Charles II. Balquhain went 
abroad afterwards, and took service in Bussia, and died during the invasion of Poland 
in 1655. His uncle William, also a Protestant, succeeded him. He had been a 
faithful servant to King Charles I., both in the Council and in the field ; and after the 
slaughter of his Sovereign he left the country and lived in Holland. He resigned the 
estates to his brother "Walter, a soldier of the Boman Catholic League under the Emperor 
of Austria. "Walter passed his Garioch heritage to his brother Alexander ; who appears, in 
the Inverurie documents as Alexander Leslie of Tullos, living quietly at the House of 
Tullos, at the foot of Benachie, a real, or apparent Protestant, but needing to be enjoined, 
by the watchful Presbytery, to " keep his parish kirk of Oyne ". 

The laird of Drimmies of the time, Alexander Chalmers, was among the Boyalists, 
though Protestant ; his son, actively so, was to fall, sword in hand, into the power of 
Argyll at the taking of the House of Kelly. Cruickshank of Tillymorgan was on the 
same side. The laird of Fetternear, Hector Abercromby, appears, along with his wife, 
long exercising their ingenuity to keep their fidelity to the Church of Borne a secret. The 
laird of Pittodrie of the time, Thomas Erskine, brother-in-law of the elder Alexander 
Jaffray, was Protestant and Covenanting, as were the whole of the Erskines, though 
both his mother and wife belonged to families of the opposite side, the one being a 
Gordon and the other a Seton. 

Another relative of Provost Jaffray, Bobert Burnet, advocate, laird of Crimond, in 
Monkegy, and before his death a judge of the Court of Session by the title of Lord 
Crimond, was an exception to all of his name and family, — the Burnets of Leys, who 
espoused the side of the Covenant. He was younger brother of Sir Thomas Burnet, 
first baronet of Leys, and of James Burnet of Craigmyle, the father of the first Burnet 
of Kemnay, and was a man so honest and single-minded as to be misunderstood by his 
contemporaries. His reproofs of the proceedings of the bishops in 1637, which disgusted 
him, made him be regarded by them as a Puritan, but when he saw that the Covenanters, 
instead of merely reforming, meant to subvert the existing order of things, he espoused 
the side of the Crown so decidedly that he had to spend some years in exile. Bobert 
Burnet, Lord Crimond, is remarkable in the history of the time for more than his own 

Eve of the Covenant. 251 

position and merits. Gilbert Burnet, minister of Salton in East Lothian from 1665 to 
1669, subsequently Professor of Divinity at Glasgow, after the Eestoration, and after- 
wards Bishop of Salisbury, was one of his sons— the fifth and youngest. Gilbert was 
born in 1643 at Edinburgh, and of course was but a child in the most interesting years 
of the Covenant. When very young, he was employed as a messenger in the many com- 
munications held by Charles II. with his friends in Britain, and had his memory stored 
with the details put on record afterwards in his History of his own Times. Mr Bobert 
Burnet acquired the property of Crimond in 1634, about the date of Alexander 
Jaffray's getting possession of the Caskieben estates, of which it at one time had formed 
part. His second wife, the mother of the bishop, was sister of Sir Archibald Johnston, 
Lord Warriston, the most prominent Scottish statesman in the Commonwealth period. 
There is something so redeeming to the times in the tribute paid to Lord Crimond's 
.memory by his grandson, a son of the bishop, and himself a Judge of Common Pleas in 
England, that it is well to have it to read in connection with a state of society so un- 
attractive morally as that in which the Covenant had to play its part in the progress of the 
Eeformation. " He was eminent for probity and generosity in his practice, insomuch that 
near one-half of his income went in acts of charity and friendship. Erom the poor he 
never took a fee, nor from a clergyman, when he sued in the right of his church." 
Bobert Burnet of Crimond, appointed a Judge at the Eestoration, lived to hold the office 
of a Lord of Session only three months. His descendants were numerous and several of 
them distinguished. 

A previous laird of Crimond was Bobert Johnston (a cadet of the Caskieben stock, 
and also brother-in-law of John Johnston of that Ilk). He was chosen Provost of Aberdeen 
in Autumn 1635, but was removed by the Lords of Privy Council in January 1636, when 
Alexander Jaffray of Kingswells was appointed Provost in his stead. Bobert Johnston 
was again elected Provost in 1637 ; and held office for a year. As with Lord Crimond, 
he is less noted in history than his son — Lieutenant-Colonel AVilliam Johnston — the 
most efficient officer that the Boyalist cause had in the North at the beginning of the 
Civil War, and the actual leader in the few successes then obtained by the Aberdeen- 
shire barons. Like Leslie, General of the Covenanting army, and the Master of Eorbes, 
one of its local chiefs, AVilliam Johnston had learned the art of soldiery in the Protestant 
army of Gustavus Adolphus, then carrying on the long contest against the Eonian 
Catholic League. Of this gallant Cavalier, Commissary Clerk Spalding writes : — 
" Generall Johnstoun for his wit and policie was honored amongst them all, and had 
the first place at all thair meittiiigis ": i.e., the meetings of the Aberdeenshire Eoyalists. 

Mr Bobert Farquhar of Mounie, a Garioch laird, who, on the Eestoration, became 
Sir Bobert, was apparently a zealous Covenanter. He was intimately associated with 
Alexander Jaffray, the younger, in the civic politics of Aberdeen, as well as in business 
transactions. Farquhar's chief employment seems to have been that of a wholesale 
dealer in victual. A transaction of that nature brought the Baronet of Wardes into his 

252 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

power, as has been noticed. During the Civil War bis political action brought him into 
trouble, at times, with the Gordons ; and under the Covenanting rulers his department 
.was in the profitable line of the Commissariat ; hi which, however, he met occasionally 
the fate of other creditors. 

A principal actor in the troubles which began in the Garioch with 1639, was John 
Lcith of Harthill, an ardent Eoyalist, whose somewhat insane actions led to his spending 
much of his time in irons within the " Mids o' Mar," as the Aberdeen jail was called, or 
in the companion prison of the capital, " the Heart of Midlothian". Leith's first exploit 
was forcing his way, on the 24th December, 1639, into the Provost's pew in the Old 
Kirk of Aberdeen during the second prayer; swearing at the Town-serjeants, who offered 
him another seat, " By God's wounds, I shall sit beside the Provost, and in no other 
place of the kirk," and drawing bis sword upon the town's officer. He was with difficulty 
secured and taken to the Tolbooth, terrifying the Eaillies by a threat that he would break 
out and burn the town. At the examination, held immediately after the service, he told 
the officer he should fence the Court in the Devil's name; calling the Provost "but a doittit 
cock and ane ass ; and while the Clerk was reading the complaint and accusation against 
him, not only did Harthill violently pluck the paper furth of his hand, and tear the 
same in pieces, but likewise took the Clerk, Mr George Robertson, his penner and ink- 
horne, quhilk was lying befoir him on the table, and cast the same eagerlie at his face, 
and thairwith hurt and wounded him in two several parts, to the great effusion of his 
blood". The case proved too much for the minds of the magistracy to deal with, and they 
put him in prison ad interim ; but he first nearly set the place on fire, and next made 
such a breach in the wall as cost the sum of £35 3s. Scots to repair; and having got 
arms from his friends, he attacked his jailors and fired out upon the citizens outside, and 
at length had to be put in irons. His manacles soon disappeared, and he afterwards ex- 
plained that "he had sent them up to Harthill". He made himself master of the jail, and 
set all his fellow-captives free, while he remained himself " going throw the hous as ane 
commander". He next " rameforced" the outer door of the Tolbooth against all entrance, 
and refused to come out. After an imprisonment of nine months and fifteen days, he 
was, by order of the Committee of Estates, removed to Edinburgh, where he remained 
in confinement till Montrose made himself master of the city, Harthill seems to have 
been regarded as a madman and left at liberty. Long after he appears in the Presbytery 
records of the Garioch exhibiting the like frantic violence in that Court, and against in- 
dividual ministers, about some communion cups which his son had given to the parishes 
of Oyne and Eayne. 

On the Covenanting side, at the beginning of the troubles, the leaders in the Garioch 
were the old hereditary antagonists of the Marquis of Huntly — the Forbeses, of whom 
the lairds of Monymusk and Leslie were at that time persons of means and influence. 
Pitsligo, Tolquhon, and Echt were always along with these, — their recognised chief 
being the Master of Forbes, one of the soldiers of fortune of the time, trained in the 

Eve of the Covenant. 253 

Swedish army. A prominent individual on the Covenanting side in the Garioeh, when 
in 1639 open strife first began by an appeal to arms, was the Knight of Craigievar, 
Sir William Forbes, made a Baronet of Nova Scotia by Charles I. in 1630. He was 
a nephew of the good Bishop, Dr. Patrick Forbes of Corse, but became the most active 
oppressor of those who sympathised with the Bishop's sentiments and sought to defend 
the King's position, in the country. He died before the tragic conclusion of the Civil 

The Craigievar family of Forbes now represents the line of Corse, which sprang from 
Patrick, third son of the second Lord Forbes ; in the generation in which the Cor- 
sindae branch of the name began with Duncan the second son of the same Lord 
Forbes, and progenitor also of the families of Monymusk and Leslie. The bishop was 
the fifth Forbes of Corse, and was succeeded by his two sons, William, the elder, and 
John, who was extruded from the Professorship of Divinity in King's College Aberdeen, 
by the Covenanting Church. Neither of these sons has now any' male representative. 
The bishop's brother, William, was aided by him in a mercantile career, which he 
chose ; and he became laird of Meny about 1607, and, before 1610, acquired the lands 
of Craigievar, which had long been possessed by the Mortimer family. His son was 
the first baronet, Sir William Forbes of Craigievar, Salton, Glencorse, Logy-Fintray, &c. 
The present baronet is his representative in an unbroken lineal descent from father to 
son. The fourth baronet, Sir Arthur, was in the time of the rebellion of 1745-6 repre- 
sentative of Aberdeenshire in Parliament, and was an intimate and valued friend of 
Sir Andrew Mitchell of Thainston, British Plenipotentiary at the Court of Berlin ; by 
whose will Mr. Duncan Forbes, a younger son of Sir Arthur, became laird of Thain- 
ston, taking the name of Forbes-Mitchell, by which family name the representative of 
that line continues to be designated. 

Another Garioeh name deserves to be noticed among the actors in the troubles 
which preceded the death of King Charles. The subordinate general in the Covenanting 
army, sent north in 1645 against the Marquis of Montrose, was Sir John Urrie or. 
Hurrie, of the family of Urrie of Pitfiehie, in Monymusk parish. He seems to have 
been one of the officers trained in foreign service who came to the front in the military 
actions of the time. His wife was apparently of one of the Spanish families settled in 
Holland — Maria Magdalena van Jaxheim, daughter of Christopher Sebastian van 
Jaxheim de Erlabrun in Germany. A brief of birth obtained by his daughter, Mary 
Margaret Urrie, Lady Lamont, in 1669, exhibits him as the ninth Urrie of Pitfiehie 
in lineal descent. He may have had as his ancestor the Urrie who appears in the 
Eagman Bolls. On the mother's side he was of the blood of the Chalrderses of Cults, 
an Aberdeen family, of municipal rank, descended from the House of Balnacraig, trace- 
able to the latter part of the 14th century. The pedigree was a long one, and worth 
recording if any one lives now to whom it is part of his own origines. Besides the 
entry in the Bagman Bolls the name Urrie appears in 1388 in aForglen charter of some 

254 Inverurie and the Earldom of the GariocJi. 

lands resigned to John Eraser by Gilbert Urrie and bis spouse Joanna, heir of deceased 
Marjorie, the wife of John Fraser, daughter and heir of Sir John of Monymusk ; and 
again in 1466 the name of Andre Uurrie in connection with the same lands. The family 
bearing the territorial name of Monymusk had possessed Pitfichie, but forfeited it (p. 65). 
The pedigree sanctioned by the Heralds College in 1669 to Lady Lamont, and partly 
corroborated by documents which the Spalding Club has printed, gives the following 
description from father to son of Lairds of Pitfichie : — 

John Urrie of Pitfichie married Catherine, daughter of Lord Forbes ; Gilbert 
Urrie, a person of distinction, married Elizabeth Lawder, daughter of the Laird of 
Basse; William Urrie married Barbara Crichton, daughter of the Laird of Frendraught ; 
David Urrie married Joanna Leslie, daughter of the Laird of Balquhain; George Urrie, 
married Elizabeth Fraser, daughter of the Laird of Muchals ; William Urrie married 
Agnes Leslie, daughter of the Laird of Wardes ; William Urrie, married Elizabeth 
Erskine, daughter of the laird of Dun ; John Urrie married Margaret Chalmers, daughter 
of Alexander Chalmers of Cults. Sir John Urrie was their son. 

William Urrie of Pitfichie appears on numerous juries of inquest about 1506. In 
1535 William Urrie of Pitfichie was a witness to transactions of the Prior of Mony- 
musk. In 1531 Thomas Fraser of Staneywood, ancestor of the Lords Fraser of Muchals, 
had a charter of Wester Corse and JSTorham, which lands belonged in 1540 to Urrie of 
Pitfichie. The records of the Leslie family make Ann Leslie, daughter of 3rd Lord 
of Wardes, widow of Urrie of Pitfichie in 1580. 

The maternal pedigree of Sir John, obtained by his daughter, traces from the 
Chalmerses of Balnacraig, who were also of Kintore (p. 62), and held high municipal 
position in Aberdeen. In 1388 William Chalmers had a lease of Murtle from Adam, 
Bishop of Aberdeen, and in 1402 bis son Thomas (also Laird of Findon) had a renewal 
from Bishop Gilbert, and in 1488 Alexander Chalmers of Cults renounced it. The 
pedigree of 1669 (father and son) is as follows : — 

Alexander Chalmers of Cults, son of the House of Balnacraig, married Agnes 
Hay, daughter of Earl of Erroll ; Alexander Chalmers married Janet, daughter of John 
Leslie of that Ilk ; Alexander Chalmers married Elizabeth Douglass of Glenbervie ; 
Thomas Chalmers married Mary Menzies, daughter of the Laird of Pitfodels ; Alexander 
Chalmers married Helen Eait, daughter of the Laird of Halgreen ; Alexander Chalmers 
married Janet Lumsden, daughter of the Laird of Cushnie ; Gilbert Chalmers married 
Elizabeth Fraser, daughter of the Laird of Durris ; Alexander Chalmers married Janet, 
daughter of James Irving, brother of the Laird of Drum ; Marjory Chalmers, their only 
child, was mother of Sir John Urrie. 

There was no John Leslie of that Ilk ; the first John Leslie of Balquhain died in 
1561 ; the first John of Wardes died in 1546. In 1505 Thomas Chalmers was served 
heir to his father Alexander in the lands of Cults and Little Methlick. The same jury 
found Mariot Matheson, widow of Alexander Chalmers, entitled to her terce of two- 

Eve of the Covenant. 255 

thirds of Cults and her terce of Methlick, excepting ten pounds formerly granted to 
Thomas Chalmers and Elen Rate his wife. In 1 548 Thomas was on an assize. Alex- 
ander Chalmers was Provost of Aherdeen in 1567, and had two sons, Gilbert, his 
successor, and Mr. William, Minister of Boyndie. Gilbert in 1601 had a Great Seal 
Charter of Cults. He sold Cults in 1612 to the Laird of Lesmoir. 

The Solemn League and Covenant, evoked by the King's introducing the 
Service Book prepared by Archbishop Laud, was the national protest against his con- 
firmation of Episcopacy in a strict form, of which that book was a symbol. The Cove- 
nant was first signed upon the first day of March, 1638, by a multitude of all classes, 
upon tables erected in the churchyard of the Grey friars in Edinburgh ; and committees 
of nobles, lairds, and ministers were appointed to carry it to different parts of the 
country for the signature of the whole nation. One of the clerical commissioners 
who perambulated the North was Mr. Andrew Cant, the first parish minister of Pit- 
sligo, in Buchan, an individual typical of the period, and afterwards much recorded 
in its annals. Henderson and Dickson, his colleagues, were with him only in Aber- 

The marvellous success which attended those commissioners — Apostles of the Cove- 
nant as they were termed — was partly due to the foresight of the Earl of Eothes, the 
head of the Protestant branch of the great House of Leslie, the junior Balquhain branch 
whereof continued partly to be Roman Catholic. The Earl of Eothes had before the 
outbreak sent for his kinsman, Field-Marshal Leslie, from the Queen of Sweden's 
service, and secured his co-operation in the national rising then anticipated. That dis- 
tinguished soldier was an illegitimate descendant of the New Leslie branch of the House 
of Balquhain. Utterly destitute of education, so that it was believed he never could 
sign his own name, he manifested ■ such ability as a military commander, and so much 
strength and worth of character, that he was well fitted to uphold the dignity of Earl of 
Leven, which he ultimately attained. On coming home Leslie set at once about train- 
ing the tenants of the Earl of Rothes and others obtainable ; and sent quietly for certain 
Scottish officers serving abroad, whom he selected for their fitness for the expected work. 
In consequence he had, when the force of arms came to be appealed to, a trained body 
of troops for the nucleus of the Covenanting army; a provision which gave his 
followers great advantage over the feudal levies brought against him, which, according 
to immemorial custom, were never for any long time kept together, but were assembled 
only when occasion arose, and were disbanded after either victory or defeat. Leslie was 
the actual leader of the combined force, although the title of Lord-General was given to 
some nobleman, the Earl of Montrose holding that position at the beginning, and the 
Earl of Argyll at a later period. 

The camp of the Covenanters, when under General Leslie's command, is described 
as a scene of singular and becoming order — Divine worship regularly uniting the entire 
host, aud harmony of action being procured by the Marshal's prudent and firm manage- 

256 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

ment of the self-seeking nobleinen and hot-headed clerical delegates, who were con- 
stantly wishing to interfere with the action of the army. 

The principal General of King Charles, though also with a subordinate rank, was 
sprung from a Garioch family— General King, whom Charles I. made Lieutenant- 
General of his army under the Earl of Newcastle, which last, Clarendon says, was unac- 
quainted with the art of Avar. Sir James King was the son of the last of the family 
of King, who was proprietor of Barra, and himself retained the designation, being 
called of Barraucht and Birness — a property in Buclian which he had, it may be, acquired 
by purchase. Like his contemporaries — Marshal Leslie, Crowner Johnston, and the 
Master of Forbes — he was a pupU of the soldier King of Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus, 
and had attained the rank of Lieutenant-General, as well as the highest reputation 
in that monarch's service. King Charles in 1642 conferred on him the title of Lord 
Eythin or Ythan, from the river so named not far from his Buchan property. The Scot- 
tish Parliament passed an Act of forfeiture against him in 1644, and rescinded it in 
1647. The title became extinct by his death without heirs male. A daughter of 
Lord Ythan's seems to have resided at one time near Peterhead. 


"We are enabled to ascertain, with accuracy, who were holders of Burgh Eoods and 
Common Lands of Inverurie shortly before the Civil War began, from a contract as to 
the Teinds between Sir Thomas Crombie of Kemnay and William Johnston, George 
Leslie, and James Eergus, baillies and burgesses of the burgh, acting for themselves, 
and on behalf of certain holders of burgage lands and common lands in the burgh. 
The contract was signed at Inverurie, in April, 1633, before witnesses — Sir George 
Johnston of that Ilk, "Walter Forbes of Thaynestoun, William Gell, servitor to the said 
laird of Kemnay, and William Smith, servitor to Caskieben, and was written by 
Patrick Smith, Notary Public. 

The contract narrates rights disponed by Sir Thomas Crombie to the Burgh : — 

1. Tack and assedation, of dait the ellevent day of May, 1593, granted by um- 
quhille Patrick commendator of Lyndoris, and convent thereof, to umquhillo Alexander 
Irving, styled for the time fiar of Drum, and his airs and assignees, for his lyfetime, and 
three nynteen years thereafter, of all and sundrie the teind sheaves of the said town of 
Inverury, lands thereof, niilne lands and davauch lands of the same, with the outsettis, 
pairts, pendicles and pertinents ; for the yearlie payment of twenty-four pounds Scots 
money. Whilk was ratified and approved, thereafter, by Patrick, Lord of Lyndoris, 
heritable proprietor of the same, at Edinburgh, aucht day of May, 1615. 

2. Another tack and assedation made by said Patrick, Lord of Lyndoris, to said 
umquhille Alexander Irving of Drum, in lyferent and three nyneteen years next after 
the entrie, whilk was appointit to be at Lambas, 1615, for yearlie payment of twenty- 

Burgh Lairds at the Time of the Covenant. 257 

four pounds, and relief of taxation, reparation of kirk, and furnishing of elements. 
Which tack was assigned, same date, by Alexander Irving to Sir Alexander his son. Sir 
Alexander, with consent of Dame Margaret Scrimgeour, his spouse, disponed the same 
on ninth and twelfth May, 1623, to Sir "William Douglas of Glenbervie. The said Sir 
William, by assignation twenty-twa day of June, 1624, disponed the said tack to Sir 
Thomas Crombie. 

There were excepted from the whole teinds of the town of Inverurie thus disponed 
the teind sheaves disponed by the said Thomas to Sir George Johnston of that Ilk, 
knight baronet, viz., the Davauch lands of Inverurie, lands of Ardtannies, milne lands, 
ruddis, crofts, and others, at Edinburgh, the sixteen day of March, 1632 ; Also, 
those ruddis and lands which belong to the laird of Wardis, upon the syid of the said 
town of Inverury, which are presently possessed and occupied by the said William John- 
ston, baillie, the teind sheaves of which it shall be lessum to said Thomas to dispone at 
his pleasure ; Also reserving to said Thomas to dispose of at his pleasure, the teind 
sheaves of that piece of land pertaining to Thomas Johnston ; Likewise the heritable 
r icht made by said Thomas to John Stiven, upon that raid callit Susan Stiven's raid, 
shall remain with the said John and his heirs, so that it shall be lessum to them to 
dispose upon it. 

For the portion disposed of by contract with the baillies for themselves and others, 
they became bound to relievethe said Thomas and his successors of the sowme of auch- 
teen poundis Scottis, as the just pairt and portion of the sowme of twenty-four poundis 
money, quhilk he by his infef tment is obleisit to pay yearlie to the minister of Inverurie 
and of his majestie's annuitie imposit, or to be imposit, upon the said teynd sheaves ; 
and of all taxations, impositions, and other burdings, repairing and upholding the kirk, 
furneising of elements to the communion; and of all others, pro rata, according to the 
value of the teind sheaves, — provyding his majestie's confirmation be purchesit and 
obtained by the said baillies and heritors by their own nioyen, and at their own charges 
and expenses. 

The following are the burgh properties included in the contract : — 
_ Auchtene ruddis of land, lyand on the west syd of the burgh of Inverury, above the said George 
Leslie's mansion and dwelling-house [Afterwards Stonehouse, extending to Streamhead] ; Ane twelff 
part bu'row lands with pairts, pendicles, and pertinents thereof ; ane piece callit the Castell yardis and 
Milne butts. 

The lands callit the Twa pairt and Three pairt Stanners ; the Gudeman's Croft ; the Dowcot 
and Cobill hauchis ; the lands callit the Garden ruddis, lyan before the said Geo. Leslie, his dwelling- 
house, extending to nyne ruddis land ; the Barbuts, Boutrie bous riggis, and the Dame rig, in the 
Stanners ; all pertaining to George Leslie. 

Four ruddis on west side of burgh, pert, to Walter Fergus. 

The Litell Croft pert, to Mr. Alex. Mitchell. [Part of Ury Bank.] 

Six ruddis on east syde of burgh, and ane half!' twalff pairt burrow lands, pert, to James Fergus. 

Fire ruddis on east syde of burgh ; twa ruddis on west syde ; ane quarter twalff pairt burrow 
lands ; all pert, to William Ronald. 

Ane rude on west syde, pert, to Ion Gib. 

Ane rude on west syde ; ane croft callit the Barcroft of Cobill Seat ; with the hauchis thereof, 
called Susana Steven's rude [west side of Stanners, where the boat was] ; pert, to Ion Steven, or Susana 
his sister. 


258 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Thrie ruides on west syde ; Time come buttis and four common buttis on east syde, pelt, to 
Andro Gib. 

Fyve ruidis on the west syde ; the Mather Yard in the Stanners ; twa ruiddis there ; the Short 
Croft ; ane and a quarter rude of the Gudeman's Croft ; ane twalff pairt Common laudis ; pert, to James 

Twa rudes and half ane rude on east syde, pert, to Christian Tailyier. 

Twa rudis on the east syde ; ane rude in the Stanners ; ane halff twalff pairt common lands ; pert, 
to Wm. Johnston, alias Kobb's Willie. 

Twa rudis on west pairt ; Fyve rudis on east pairt ; ane quarter twalff pairt burrow lands ; twa 
rudes on the Stanners ; pert, to Alex. Fergus. 

Ane rude on east pairt ; the Lint Butt ; ane sixteine pairt burrow lands ; pert, to Mr. James Miln. 
Twa rudis in the west pairt, pert, to Ion Anderson. 

Thrie rudis and three quarteris on the west syde, pert, to William Davidson. 
Fyve rudis on the east pairt ; Fyve rudis on the west pairt ; ane twellf pairt burrow lands, with 
the pendicles thereof callit Content, Crawstone but and the Burn rig ; which Burn rig pertains to Wm. 
Robertson, burgess of Aberdeen, and all the rest heritably in propertie to William Johnston, bailie. 

Aucht rudis and half ane rude on west syde [from 23 to 27 High Street, once known as Mid- 
town of Inverurie] ; ane twelff pairt burrow laudis and haill pendicles, [in Burnland, Contents, Crow- 
stone, Longlands, Dpperhaugh, and Burghmuir] ; pert, to John Mackiesoue, younger. 

Twa rudis and ane quarter on west syde ; thrie rudis on east syde ; pert, to James Anderson. 
Six rudis on the west pairt ; four rudis on the east pairt, whereof twa rudis belongs to Mr. 
Charles Angus, br. to Andro. 

Twa halff twelff pairtis burrow lands, with the Crawstone but and Content, pertaining heritablie 
to Wm. Robertson, burges of Aberdeen, presently possessed by Christiane Mathewsone ; all pert, herit- 
ablie to Androw Angus. 

Ane rude and ane half on west pairt, pert, to James Hutcheown. 

Twa rudis and half rude on west syde ; third pairt rude in Currie's hauch ; pert, to James Benzie 
and Marjorie Ronald. 

Ane rude and half ane rude on west syde ; ane twa pairt rude on east syde; pert, to Wm. Porter 
and Geo. Grub, wobster. ' 

Seven rudis and half ane rude in west pairt ; the croft of Brandsbutt; pert, to George Grub. 
Twa rudis and half ane rude in west pairt ; four rudis on east pairt ; ane twelff pairt burgh lands 
and hail pendicles ; pert, to John Mackieson, elder, notar. 
Anne rude on west pairt, pert, to Ion Porter. 
Burn rig, Crawstonbut, and Content rig, pert, to Thomas Smith. 
The Croslitt Croft ; a little rig on the Langlands fauld ; pert, to James Tailzier. 
Twa rudis on west ; ane croft of laud in the Burne lands ; ane twellf pairt and half twelff pairt 
burrow laudis, of ane rig in the Burn lands, Crawstone but, and Content ; pert, to John Benzie. 
Ane rude and half ane rude on east pairt, p. to John Robertson. 
Twa rudis and halff rude on east pairt, pert, to James Robertson. 
Ane quarter twelff pairt, pert, to Patrick Robertson. 

Ane sixteine pairt in burrow lands, Crawston but, and Content, pert, to William Anderson. 
Fyve rudis and halff rude on east pairt ; ane burne rig ; ane Crowstone but rig ; ane rig on tha 
Stanners ; pert, to William Steven. 

Twa rudis on east pairt, pert to William Lichtoun. 
Ane rude on east pairt, pert, to Wm. Johnestoun, alias Kelt. 

Thrie rudes on east pairt, pert, to Ion Fergus ; twa rudes to George Fergus. Burne land, Craw- 
stone but, and Content to James Fergus ; conform to their several rights. 
Twa rudis and a halff on east pairt ; pert, to Alexander Barclay. 

Fyve rudis and a half ane rude on east pairt ; the Castle Croft in the Stanners ; Thrie 
hillock riggis ; thrie riggis, and twa Dam riggis in the Stanners ; pert, to Gilbert Johnestoun. 

Three rudis and halff ane rude in the wast pairt ; fyve rudis and halff ane rude in east pairt ; ane 
rig in the Stanners ; the Guage rude on the west, [now part of the hotel feu — probably the standard 
rojd of the Burgh] ; Pert, to John Thomesonne. 

Twa rudis in the west pairt ; twa riggis in the Burne land ; the Gallow Croft and Slackis thereof; 
pert, to Alex. Joise. 

Twa rudis and half ane rude on east syde ; ane quarter twelff pairt ; pert, to James Smith. 
Ane half twelff pairt burrow lands (burn rig), occupied by said James Smith, whilk pertains to 
James Tailyer and to the said James Smith in wadset. 

Thrie rudis on east pairt of burgh, pert, to Alexander Webster. 

Burgh Lairds at the Time of the Covenant. 259 

John Steven's rood, called " Susana Steven's rude," was in the Stanners, near the 

Thomas Johnston lived at the Kirkgreen. His "piece of land" may have been the 
original " toft" belonging to the Abbey of Lindores, now Fittie's Croft, which belonged 
to persons named Johnston in the eighteenth centurj'. 

The Burgh took sasine of the teinds in 1644 — the representing bailhes being George 
Leslie, John Johnston, and Alexander Eeid. 

By Act of Parliament, the King's annuities became commutable at ten years' pur- 
chase. Those of the Inverurie " aikers " had been acquired from the King by John, 
Earl of Lowdon, and he disponed them to the Burgh, in 1655, for 1431bs. 13sh. 8d., the 
baillies receiving being Walter Ferguson, Alexander Paterson, and Bobert Ferguson. 

The above list exhibits both the Boods which were burgage holdings, and the 
Twelfth Parts, which were common or burgh lands, in a much divided condition. 
There are several indications that the Boods had, anciently, been held in portions of 
about nine roods, or four and a-half Scots acres, and that the same proprietor had pos- 
sessed both Upper and Lower Boods, lying opposite to each other, separated only 
by the King's gait. Abstracting the Minister's glebe, which consisted of about nine 
roods, there would be very close upon twelve double portions of nine Upper, and nine 
Lower Boods. The earliest records show an entire twelfth part of Common Lands 
held along with about nine Boods ; and half, or quarter, twelfths, associated with 
smaller portions of Boods. 

One or two of the families dating, by their own tradition, from the division of lands 
said to have been made by the Bruce after the battle of Inverurie, appear as burgage 
and twelfth part heritors so late as 1795; when the earliest extant plan of the burgh 
lands was made by Colin Innes, Land Surveyor in Aberdeen. The Fergusons ceased 
to be burgh heritors only about 1806. The last representative of an old race, named 
Mackie or Mackieson, of Midtoune of Inverurie, parted with an unbroken burgage and 
twelfth part holding, when a merchant in Culm, in Polish Prussia, about 1730, and it 
passed through the respective hands of Elphinstone of Glack, Burnet of Kemnay, and 
the Earl of Findlater, into the possession of the Earl of Kintore. Another Mackieson 
was ancestor of Baillie Lyon, a noted chief magistrate of Inverurie some sixty or seventy 
years ago. The Benzies had all disappeared before Colin Innes made his survey, and 
one only of the claimants of aboriginal rank, besides the Fergusons, remained — Widow 
Stiven, the representative of the William Stephen, of the teind list. Her grandson is 
the present Mr Bobert Boyd Tytler, of Ceylon, whose father, the husband of a co-heiress, 
concurred in selling the property about 1810. 

The contract of teinds is so far associated with the erection of Monkegy into a 
parish separate from Inverurie. Sir George Johnston of Caskieben became proprietor 
of his part of the Lindores teinds, a little before the Inverurie teinds were conveyed; and 
the Presbytery and Synod minutes, of a later date, contain references to his having pro- 


Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

mised the small teinds of Monkegy for provision to a minister there. The first minister, 
Mr. Samuel "Walcar, was appointed ahout 1630; and was one of the earliest clerical 
victims of the Covenant, which he had characterised, after Montrose won the battle of 
Kilsyth, in terms so contumelious as were not to he forgotten when the Covenant was 
all powerful again, but cost him his place, and the humiliating submission required 
in those days, and a life of privation afterwards, until the second Episcopacy restored 
him — a martyr to the truth — to a new lease of life as Parson of Monkegy. 

Chapter VIII. 


The Solemn League and Covenant. — Power of the Gordons Broken — The Second Marquis of Huntly. 
First Appeal to Arms. — A.D. 1639 — The Committee at Turriff— The Earl of Montrose and 
General Leslie in the North — Runthj's Commission Published — Inverurie the Scene of the First 
Muster — Covenanting Army at Kintorc — Conference at Inverurie, the Marquis Overreached — 
Kemnay's Girnal Plundered— Temporary Submission of Catholic Lairds — Lord Aboyne Compelled 
to Rise — Vacillation of Covenanting Chiefs— Aboyne Deserts — Crowncr Johnston — The Trot of 
Turriff — The Local Chiefs of the Tioo Parties— Plundering — Prompt Action of the Tables- 
Flight and Return of the Royalist Barons. Lord Aboyne Kino's Lieutenant. — Plundering — 
Battle of the Bridge of Dee — Death of John Scton of Bourtie— Flight of Royalist Officers and Lairds 
to the King at Berwick — Pacification — A.D. 1640 — Preparations for Conflict — Sliarcs of Spoil — 
Pillaging of Garioch Mansions and Seizure of Ministers. The Earl of Argyll. — Burning of 
Airly — Taxation for the Army— Quarrels over the Collection— Combination to Resist Argyll — 
A.D. I64I — Tlic Covenant Supreme in the Garioch— Universal Plundering — Another Pacification 
— Distribution of Honours and Gifts — Andrexo Cant and John Row — A.D. 1643 — Attempt to 
Suppress Festivals — John Keith — Changes in Worship — A.D. 1643 — Portents— Divisions — 
Argyll Supreme. The Marquis of Huntly in Arms. — Flight of Covenanters— A.D. I644 — 
Camp at Inverurie — Argyll in the Garioch— Huntly 's Desertion and Escape. The Marquis 
of Montrose.— In the Garioch — The Irishes — Argyll Deserted by Covenanting Lords — 
Leaders at Feud— Quasi Pursuit of Montrose — Young Harlhill at Inverurie — Montrose at Inver- 
urie — Earl of Airly at Lcthintic — General Urrie — Craigievar's Share in the Wars— Accessions to 
the King's Standard — End of the Conflict — Montrose leaves the Kingdom — Huntly again in 
Arms at Inverurie and Aberdeen — Retired to the Highlands — Sold and Executed. Incidents 
of the Troubles. — Pitcaple Castle — Mr. Samuel Walcar — Wardes Castle— Mr. Andrew Cant 
and Provost Robert Farquhar. Inverurie About 1645. — Burgh Heritors — Military Assess- 
ment — Rev. William Forbes — Burgh Rulers — The Plague in 1647 — Time of the King's Death — ■ 
The Marquis of Montrose at Pitcaple — Charles II. at Pitcaple. 


JHE purchase of a heritable right to the Inverurie teinds, which first brings the 
names of the burgh heritors in a body to our notice, marked an important epoch in 
Scottish history. The subject of teinds had just been put upon a legal footing 
by King Charles L, with the concurrence of the Estates. The clergy, who were left 
bare by the new ecclesiastical lairds, were secured only in a very moderate share 
of the Church property ; while the king earned much ill-will by his honest attempt to 
arrange by arbitration the payment of ministers' stipends. The reforming barons were 
unwilling to part with the revenues of the Church, which they had got hold of, and 

262 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

though they obtained a large slice for themselves by the King's decreet, in order to 
induce their acquiescence, they yet grudged his settling the property by law ; and in 
1638 the Solemn League and Covenant was much more extensively signed in 
consequence of discontent at the settlement of the teinds, and the apprehension that, 
if the king succeeded in his desire to establish Episcopacy, the result would be the 
surrender of still more of the plunder of the Kirk. The king's policy, in other respects, 
was, however, producing such alarm that the nobles and large landowners took a much 
greater part in the wide-spread combination to withstand him than was done by the 
clergy, whom popular ideas credit with being the head and front of the Solemn League 
and Covenant. Montrose himself, as well as others who became leadersof the Eoyalist 
party in later times, was at first a Covenanter. 

That famous combination, which was at the time so generally felt to be necessary 
for the defence of civil and religious rights, bears something of the appearance of 
rebellion, when viewed in the light of the sentiment which constitutional government 
has, in our day, produced in the subjects of a State. It was a proceeding, however, 
entirely in harmony with the habits of public life at the time. A Eoman Catholic 
League then united the most powerful sovereigns of Europe in an effort to nndo the 
work of the Eeformation ; and James, the late king, had originated a National League 
against Eopery. The Scottish nobility had inherited an immemorial practice of forming 
bonds of Manrent, by which they engaged followings, as numerous as they could, to 
support them in cases of apprehended necessity, and also of forming combinations with 
one another to force from the Crown national or party advantages. The latter pro- 
ceeding had in fact practically the same meaning and value as the formation of parties 
for combined Farliamentary action now possesses. 

A dozen years' experience of the King's conscientious belief in his divine right to 
govern according to his own opinions of national welfare, and of his persistent turn of 
mind, which never abandoned a projected measure though he might keep it in abeyance, 
demanded that those whose civil or religious liberty was threatened should take means to 
protect themselves. The necessity for resistance, on one account or another, was almost 
universally felt. 

In Scotland the king's attempt to force Episcopacy upon the country in a mode 
generally distasteful, gave occasion to the League and Covenant being addressed against 
that form of church government, to such an extent as naturally to raise opposition on 
the part of Episcopalians, who otherwise would willingly enough have joined their neigh- 
bours in restraining the king's encroachments upon civil liberties. The Eoman Catholic 
lords and their followings, were, however, the only class standing in fixed opposition 
to the new combination ; and to them the King was obliged to turn for support in resist- 
ing the demands to which he was unwilling to yield. 

King Charles, who had in 1630 jealously removed the Cock of the North from his 
pride of place, misapprehending the character of the Marquis, which was peaceable and 

First Appeal to Arms. 263 

the reverse of enterprising, had now to look to his son as the only likely individual to 
head a party in support of the Eoyal authority. But the name of the Marquis of Huntly 
was not a word of influence so powerful as when the prestige of long descended 
hereditary authority belonged to it ; and the violent unsettling of Lord Huntly's 
position in the north had likewise done something to slacken the connection that for 
long had bound numerous subordinate families to him, by these contracts of Manrent 
which made Huntly their chief as well as their protector. Since the Marquis was 
deprived of the Sheriffships, a dangerous, because largo and irritated and unscrupulous, 
body of his old adherents had for a while held the country in terror, and the authorities 
were unable to restrain their violence. 

The old Marquis was by this time dead. He had been for some time in prison in 
Edinburgh, upon the complaint of Crichton of Frendraught ; who had been the chief 
sufferer from the " broken men," as they were significantly termed, and accused the 
Marquis of hounding them on to such depredations upon the lands of Frendraught as 
were ruining him. The Marquis had been released, and got leave to go home, but died 
on his way at Dundee, 13th June, 1636, at the age of seventy-three. The second 
Marquis, to whom, in 1639, the king gave commission as his Lieutenant from the 
river Esk to Caithness, was not possessed of qualities requisite for the work desired 
by the king ; even if he had not laboured under the diminution of his family 
influence that the monarch himself had brought about. He was little known in the 
country, having been abroad at the beginning of the national difficulties, in the service 
of the King of France ; and the Covenanters even ventured to make overtures to bun, 
doubtless counting upon his close relationship with the leading spirit among them — 
the Earl of Argyll — whose brother-in-law he was. 


AVhen the Covenanting lords, who had hitherto resisted the king's measures only by 
protests and petitions, appeared in the field, Charles issued his commission to the Marquis 
of Huntly, but with the direction not to publish it until it became necessary, and to 
avoid striking the first blow. Huntly acted in the spirit of his instructions, and some 
bloodless meetings took place in the Garioch, before the tragic conflict broke out ; and 
these were the first overt acts of the Civil War. 

The year 1639 was to be a year of constant trouble in Aberdeenshire; and the 
south part of the Garioch was seldom, for many weeks, free from the presence of 
armed gatherings. 

The first meeting of hostile forces took place at Turriff, which was the point selected 
by the Tables — the central authority of the Covenanters — at which a deputed committee 
was to meet periodically for the conduct of their designs in Aberdeenshire. A meeting 
was appointed by the Tables to be holden there on the 14th February, in order to stent 


264 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

the country and ascertain who were adherents, and who not adherents, to the 
Covenant. The Committee that sat there included the Earls of Montrose and Kinghorn, 
Lords Couper and Fraser, and the Master of Forbes. The Marquis of Huntly, then 
having his headquarters in Aberdeen, was twitted with allowing such a meeting to be 
held with impunity, and he hastily resolved to attack them, with his two sons Lord 
Gordon and Lord Aboyne, the Earl of Findlater, the Master of Eeay, and the Lairds of 
Drum, Banff, Gight, Haddo, Eitfoddels, Foveran and Newton — his force nunibsring about 
200 men, imperfectly armed. On reaching Turriff on the 14th, from Kelly (now Haddo 
House), where he had halted for the night, he found the Covenanters aware of his 
approach, and too well posted to be meddled with, and he thereupon disbanded his 
following, and went himself to Forglen House, the residence of Ogilvy, Laird of Banff. 
The Committee quietly continued their task, and then marched south by Inverurie and 
Kintore to Lord Fraser's house of Muchalls (Castle Fraser). On their march further 
south they were hospitably entertained at Dunnottar by the Earl Marischal, a youth of 
twenty-three, who by that overt act first declared himself of the Covenanting party. 

The Lord Fraser who appears in the narrative of the " Troubles " was Andrew 
Fraser, great-grandson of Thomas Fraser of Stonywood (1528), and was ennobled in 
1633. He was one of the Parliamentary Commissioners for putting down rebels and 
nialignants in the North in 1644. He is now represented, through a female descendant, 
by Fraser of Castle Fraser and Inverallochy. 

The citizens of Aberdeen, which was the only place of consequence holding 
out against the Covenant, were fortifying the town, and Montrose resolved to 
reduce both the city and the outstanding district north of it to obedience by force of 
arms. A force of 9000 from the Covenanting army, then in the south under the 
command of Field-Marshal Leslie, was ordered to proceed to Aberdeen, to be joined 
there by those who could be brought into the field by the Forbeses, Frasers, and Keiths; 
who, accordingly, mustered their dependents at Kintore, to the number of 2000 men. 
On that occasion — which was to be the beginning of actual violence — General Leslie first 
appeared in the North. The Earl of Montrose bore the title of Lord General, and there 
were with him the Earls Marischal and Kinghorn, and Lords Carnegie and Elcho. At 
the head of the other contingent were Lord Fraser, the Master of Forbes, and Alexander 
Forbes of Boyndlie, tutor of Lord Pitsligo. This action of the Covenanting Lords was 
hastened by a Eoyal proclamation, issued in England, declaring the Covenanters to be 
rebels ; the publication of which in Scotland they resisted, upon the legal plea that they 
could not be called rebels without trial. 

The threatened attack upon Aberdeen caused extreme consternation. King's Col- 
lege broke up its sittings, and several of the professors, as also the Aberdeen Doctors, the 
Bishop, and the lairds of Drum, Pitfoddels, young Foveran, and others fled the country 
by sea. The Marquis, in Aberdeen, was not well prepared for the danger that was 
imminent. He was not apparently possessed of the resources and courage requisite for 

First Appeal to Arms. 2G5 

the task imposed on him ; and the King's policy of delay had, besides, seriously hampered 
him. On the 17th March, however, he received from the King, by the hands of Sir 
Alexander Gordon of Cluny, whom he had sent to the royal headquarters, a supply -of 
arms — 2000 muskets, bandoleers, and musket-staves, 1000 pikes, with harness and arms 
for footmen and horsemen, carabines, pistols, lead and match, and gunpowder. The 
kind of troops available to the royalists were merely the undrilled and somewhat 
tumultuary feudal gatherings of tenantry, who were never called out except when action 
was immediately in prospect, and could not be kept together should family cares or 
harvesting or other work require their presence at home. Huntly's force would consist 
partly of the broken men of his name, lawless, and of more value for harrying the 
country than for being handled in the field. To have encountered with such materials 
the army which General Leslie and the skilled officers fetched by him from Germany, 
had been accustoming to discipline, was a prospect ■which apparently paralysed the 
royalist lairds, except a few daring spirits like Sir George Ogilvie of Banff, John Leith 
of Harthill, and John Seton of Bourtie. There was indeed but one well trained officer 
among them, Lieutenant Crowner Johnston, already referred to ; and Colonel Johnston 
was in practical command at any successes obtained by the royalists after hostilities 
had begun. 

Huntly published his Commission of Lieutenancy on 16th March, and summoned, 
by proclamation, all the king's liege subjects, between the ages of sixteen and sixty, to 
meet him at Inverurie, on the 25th, with fifteen days' provisions. He sent charges to 
the same effect to all the Covenanting lairds still professing to be loyal subjects, but of 
course 'without effect. 

On the twenty-fifth of March — which was a Monday — the Marquis, leaving directions 
for his family to be removed to Strathbogy, rode out of Aberdeen with 100 horse to the 
rendezvous, accompanied by the Lord Seton. Two hundred men from the Old Town, 
Spital, and Seaton followed him. At Inverurie, about 5000 answered to the Lieuten- 
ant's summons — well armed, but not trained. The Earl of Findlater failed to appear, 
and shortly thereafter took the opposite side, as the Marquis's eldest son, Lord GcHkm, 
was likewise induced to do by his uncle, the Earl of Argyll, sometime afterwards. 

On the twenty-eighth, three days later, the Aberdeenshire Covenanters met so near 
Huntly's camp as Kintore, and marched to Aberdeen ; every man upon Earl Marischal's 
lands of Hall-forest being pressed into the service. The well-eqvffpped army of General 
Leslie halted on the Tollo Hill, immediately south of the Bridge of Dee, on the twenty- 
ninth, and next day occupied Aberdeen. They had five colours, Montrose exhibiting 
one with the motto, " For Eeligion, the Covenant, and the Country " ; and all wore a 
blue ribbon as a badge — the Eoyalists showing one of a flesh red colour. The main army 
did not remain in Aberdeen, but, the same day, under General Leslie and the Earls of 
Montrose and Marischal, advanced to Kintore. They encamped apparently at Tilty, and 
next day, being Sunday, 31st March, had divine service conducted by a minister of their 


266 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

own — the parson, Mr. John Cheyne, being of the opposite side. Next day, 1st April, 
they marched two miles towards Inverurie, where they encamped. They must have 
halted south of the Don, on the advantageous position of Crichie, and Huntly had held 
his post apparently as far north as about the Castle of Balquhain. 

The next step in the Marquis's actings was perhaps the most advisable in the cir- 
cumstances, when no blood had yet been shed ; but it led to ruinous cousequences to 
himself, and ultimately to the king's interests, when Montrose became His Majesty's 
principal general. 

Lord Huntly sent Mr. Eobert Gordon of Straloch and Dr. Gordon, physician in 
Aberdeen, to the Earl of Montrose, proposing an interview at the "Sparrmuir" (probably 
spare moor or common), near Blakkall, two miles distant from the camp. They met on 
Thursday, 4th April, Huntly having with him Lord Oliphant, his own son James Lord 
Aboyne, and nine others — eleven persons likewise accompanying the Earl of Montrose, of 
whom Lords Elcho and Couper were two. After an ineffectual parley, Montrose rode 
back to his camp, and the Marquis went to Legatsden, where he dined, and then to 
Pitcaple for the night. They met again next day, and came to an agreement, by which, 
however, Huntly in a few days found himself entrapped and a prisoner in the hands of 
the Covenanting lords, when, in compliance with his agreement, he went to Aberdeen to 
exercise his influence in establishing peace. 

The army of General Leslie broke up their camp on the 6th, and the first violence 
committed in Scotland in the Civil War took place on that occasion. The Covenanting 
army left Inverurie on the Saturday somewhat full-handed, having plundered Sir 
Thomas Crombie's girnal, at Kemnay House, of twenty-two score bolls of meal ; which 
they were unable to carry away, and sold cheaply at 6s. 8d. the boll. The Earl Marischal's 
men were very busy, Spalding says, about this plundering. At the same time, the lands 
of Barra were harried. On their way south, the Generals met 500 Highlanders sent by 
Argyll to join their force, and having no immediate occasion for their services, sent them 
to Deeside, to find their living, in the meantime, upon the lands of Drum and Pitfoddels, 
and to keep together (which in such circumstances they readily did) until further orders. 
Lord Erskine at the same time plundered the lands of Kildrummy. 

Gordon, parson of Bothiemay, in his History of Scots Affairs, gives an amusing 
account of the effect of the encamping of the Covenanting army at Inverurie. " The 
Covenant began to be propagated by another sort of apostles, for no sooner was Mon- 
trose come to Innerowyre but his men must be billetted, most pairt upon free qwarter, 
a langwage that till then was not understood in thes places, though afterwardes evry 
body came to know weall eneuch what it meand. Nor was this all, for being that most 
pairt of the countrey next adjacent to ther qwarters was anti-Covenanters, the souldiers 
wer connived at for to carry rudly in their qwarters, and had underhand warrant for to 
rifle the houses of some gentlemen who were fledde." The alarm of plundering brought 
many converts to the Covenant. The Covenanters had some field pieces with them at 

First Appeal to Arms. 267 

Inverurie, which were afterwards much used by them. They were a sort of small 
cannon, about three feet long, and somewhat wide, nicknamed Deer Sandys, after their 
reputed inventor, Colonel Alexander Hamilton. 

One consequence of Huntly's submission to the Covenanting lords, which his agree- 
ment practically amounted to — and it may be in no small degree of Field-Marshal 
Leslie's presence with such a following — was that, as Spalding narrates, the lairds of 
Gight, Haddo, Newton, Foveran, Pitmedden, Harthill, and divers others came in per- 
force and subscribed the Covenant ; but nothing could move the laird of Banff to com- 
ply. Upon the Marquis's being found to have been overreached, these gentlemen, most 
or all of whom were Roman Catholics, appeared within a few days in the field again. 

Huntly, it seems, agreed to a pledge at Inverurie to maintain, along with his 
loyalty to the king, the liberties of Church and State. He received there a written 
assurance of full liberty to retire to his own house within a certain time, whether he 
came to agreement with the Covenanting leaders or no. On the faith of this he went, 
after taking this modified pledge instead of the Covenant, to Aberdeen, where he was 
detained, Gordon says, by the influence of the Erasers and Forbeses, and of James 
Crichton of Frcndraught, his personal enemy, and was carried under a guard to Edin- 
burgh. He suspected Montrose of duplicity in the matter, which occasioned permanent 
enmity between them, so that when, afterwards, Montrose joined the King's party, and 
became his chief general, Huntly would never act with him heartily. Spalding, whose 
sarcastic humour sometimes reveals his opinion of individuals, does not seem to have 
greatly admired the Marquis, for he refers to him at an after period as living in the 
Canongate of Edinburgh, a good Covenanter. 

When in the hands of the Covenanters Lord Huntly was persuaded to give up his 
Royal Commission, as an informal document which had not passed the legal office in 
Scotland. By his resignation of the Lieutenancy, and his personal absence, the Royalists 
of the north felt themselves at disadvantage — being without any recognised leader and 
chief — and they insisted upon the Marquis's second son, Lord Aboyne, taking his father's 
place. Huntly had sent for him to bring his necessary baggage, and a supply of 
money, to Edinburgh. Lord Aboyne, on his way thither, was breakfasting, on the 1 6th 
April, at the small hostelry of Parcock, near Oldmeldrum — where the Tree of Parcock 
still marks the site — when the lairds of Haddo, Gight, Foveran, and some others inter- 
cepted him, and told him that he should not go south, but remain in the country, now 
left headless, and that it was too great a pledge to have both his father and brother 
south at the Green Table already. Lord Aboj'ne yielded somewhat unwillingly, as it 
afterwards appeared ; and, sending his charge back to Strathbogy, prepared for joint 

The new movement of the Royalists occasioned much perturbation among the 
local Covenanting leaders. The Tables had appointed a Committee to be holden 
at Turriff on the 24th April, by the Lords Marischal and Seaforth, Lord Fraser, and the 

268 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garloch. 

Master of Forbes, to which, all who had not subscribed the Covenant were required 
to come and do so under pain of plundering. The Master of Forbes was one of the 
Scottish officers trained under Gustavus Adolphus, and was little in Scotland. His 
cousin, Patrick Gordon, Earl of Sutherland, was of the same side in politics. Their 
mothers were daughters of Alexander, the fourth Lord Elphinstone, noticed in the will 
of the Miller of Ardtannies (p. 179). On the occasion of their marriage, 1st February, 
1 600, the observance of Lent was delayed to give time for the festivities. 

The members of the Committee met, on the 22nd April, at Monymusk, to advise 
about proceedings, but there they postponed the Turriff meeting to the 26th, and adjourned 
to meet again at Kintore on the 24th, in the hope that by that day they would be re- 
inforced by help from Caithness, Sutherland, and Boss ; where all, including Lord Lovat, 
were ardent Covenanters. At Kintore, about fifty musketeers attended from Aberdeen 
by command of the Lords, but turned back on hearing of Aboyne being ready for 
action. Earl Marischal took Lord Seaforth with him to Hall-forest for the night, and, 
next day, another council was held at Aberdeen ; where finding a force of about 3000 
men come in from the Covenanting lairds in Buchan, Mar, and Garioch, Marischal took 
possession of the town. The day following was that appointed for the Turriff meeting ; 
but the cautious Earls made no appearance. Leaving their retainers to muster under 
then' respective officers, and formally postponing the meeting to the 28th, they betook 
themselves to their own homes in the meantime. A muster took place at Turriff of the 
deserted retainers of Marischal, Seafortb, Findlater, Erroll, and Pitsligo ; and the lairds 
of Grant and Lines, with 1600 men, had come from Moray to join them. The appointed 
actors in the demonstration having failed to appear, " the committee dissolved, and each 
man went home, being the first committee that ever was so dissolved without more 
ado". Sir Eobert Douglas who in his Peerage and Baronage gives the Earl Marischal and 
Forbes of Monymusk the character of devoted servants to the King, had not read of this. 

The Eoyalists were in a few days again to be disappointed by the conduct of their 
chief. The Marquis of Huntly was in prison, carrying on a legal contest with the Tables 
in the form of declarations, accusations, and defences ; and his son, Lord Aboyne, seeing 
some reason for being at Court, disbanded his army, and going home, took ship on 
Friday, 3rd May, at Crooked Haven, in the Enzie, and went to the King, to the delight 
of his enemies. The Eoyalist lairds, however, declined to disband. They had Colonel 
Johnston with them, and, on the 7th of May, the laird of Banff got them and their fol- 
lowing together at Auchterlcss, whence they started upon a round of domiciliary visits, 
in order to impose an Engagement against the Covenant. 

On the 8th of May, the Forbeses and Frasers, having heard of Lord Aboyne's de- 
parture, met at Inverurie, and resolved upon a committee at Turriff, to be held on the 
20th May, a special object being to harry the laird of Banff, and other individuals. The 
leaders of their party could hardly for shame avoid the risk of holding the so-frequently 
postponed meeting ; and Colonel Johnston's Eoyalist force, well in hand by their occupa- 

First Appeal to Arms. 269 

tion of daily riding over the country, -were in the best condition they could expect to he 
in, for an exploit upon the occasion. Hearing, upon the 13th May, that the Covenanting 
lairds due at the appointed Committee were beginning to assemble, the Boyalists pre- 
pared to attack them. About 1200 horse and foot were at Turriff on the 13th, compris- 
ing Earl Marischal's men from Buchan — without himself; the retainers of the two Lords 
Enroll and Pitsligo, who were themselves minors at the time, under Hay of Delgatie 
and Forbes of Boyndlie ; Lord Fraser ; the Master of Forbes ; Barclay of Towie ; 
Keith of Ludquharn; Skene of Skene; and the lairds — all Forbeses — of Craigievar, Edit, 
Tolquhon, and "Waterton. The Donside Forbeses seem to have been unrepresented. The 
barons under Colonel Johnston, Abraham Forbes of Blaktown, and some other com- 
manders, had but 800 men, with four brass field-pieces — the lairds present being Ogilvie 
of Banff, the Gordons of Abergeldie, Haddo, Craig, Auchendoir, Gicht. and Newton, 
young Cromarty (Urquhart), Turing of Foveran, Leith of Harthill, Udny of Udny, and 
the laird of Crommie. They resolved to attack the Turriff gathering, and on the same 
day (Monday the 13th) Spalding records that they began to march in very quiet and 
sober manner, " quhairof the Covenantiris watches could have no knowledge, to the 
town of Turef, the trumpettis schortlie began to sound, and the drums to touk. The 
Covenantiris, quhairof sum were sleiping in their bedis, uther sum drinking and smoking 
tobacca, utheris sum walking and moving up and down, heiring this feirfull noiss of 
drums and trumpettis, ran to their armes, and confusedlie to array and recollectis thame- 
selffis. And, be now, both the Covenantiris and Anti-covenantiris ar standing in uther 
sightis, in ordour of batteLL Thair was twa schottis schot out of the Erll of Errollis 
hous ogainst the barrones, quhilk thay quiklie ansuerit with twa field peices. Then the 
Covenantiris began on hot service, and the Barrones both, and schot many muscat schot. 
Then the Barrones schot ane field peice in amonges thame, quhilk did no skaith, but 
fleyit the commons. Both pairteis playit on uther. At last ane uther field peice was 
agane schot, the feir quhairof maid thame all cleirlie to tak the flight. Follouit the chase. 
The Lord Fraser wes said to have foull fauldingis ; he wan away ; the lairds of Echt and 
Skene and some others, were taken prisoners ; there was some hurt and some slain ; the 
Barrones sounded the retreat, and came presently back to Turriff, where they took meat and 
drink at their pleasure, and fleyit Mr. Thomas Mitchell, minister of Turref, veray evill ; 
and so this committee wes efter this manner discharged at this time ! " 

The Boyalists designated this exploit "The Trot of Turriff" — a little of grim plea- 
santry being, as yet, admissible in the conduct of the civil broil. Plundering ensued, 
with, of course, a change of actors. The Barons marched to Aberdeen from Turriff on the 
15th. The chief Covenanters escaped from the City, except the Provost, Mr Alexander 
Jaffray, " who for schame could not weill flie ". The Covenanters' wives and bairns, 
however, supplied the soldiers abundantly, and many of the Covenanters of the name of 
Forbes — " throu plane fear "— came on to Aberdeen and yielded to the Barons. The 
Boyalists of Deeside came down with Gordon of Abergeldie and Donald Farquharson 


270 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

who commanded a party of Huntly's retainers, and -was accompanied by Lord Ludovic 
Gordon, fourth son of the Marquis, a schoolboy, who had escaped from his guardians to 
be in the midst of the general fray. One of the leaders of the broken men of the Gordon 
faction also appeared with 500 men at his back. Durris, belonging to John Forbes of 
Leslie, was pillaged by them ; and Echt, Skene, Monymusk, and other houses pertaining 
to the name of Forbes, were next visited for the same purpose. 

The victorious Barons attempted to come to an agreement with the Earl Marischal, 
at Dunnottar, on the part of their opponents. His answer led them unwisely to resolve 
upon disbanding, which accordingly they did on the 21st ; whereupon Marischal convened 
immediately the strength then lying in Angus and Mearns ; and the Aberdeenshire 
Covenanters were at once raised again under their former leaders, and encamped in 
and about Aberdeen, to the number of 2000. Craigievar, who seems to have been desti- 
tute of equipment, took arms from the citizens for his men, also pillaging the Bishop's 
palace — the residence of his uncle a few years before. 

The Royalist success of Turriff naturally led to the Tables concentrating their forces 
upon Aberdeenshire — the only outstanding part of the country ; and the Covenanting 
army was marched thither at once. Earl Marischal and the Forbeses in possession 
of Aberdeen were joined, on the 25th, by the Earls of Montrose and Kinghorn, Lords 
Drummond and Couper, the Master of Gray, the Constable of Dundee, and the Earl of 
Atholl ; when the combined force amounted to above 7000 men. Four thousand more 
were expected from beyond the Spey, under the leadership of Lord Seaforth, Lord Lovat, 
Lord Beay, the Sheriff of Moray, and the lairds of limes and Pluscardine ; but these were 
persuaded to remain where they were, by the prompt action of the laird of Banff and 
the Gordon men, who boldly crossed the Spey to check them. 

The Aberdeenshire. Royalists, hopeless in the face of such power, gave up the con- 
test ; and the lairds of Banff, Foveran, Fedderat, Newton, and others, arranged to escape 
to the King, who was then at Berwick ; and getting into a small craft at Downies, a rocky 
creek south of the bay of Nigg, put to sea. They soon were met on their voyage by a 
collier vessel bringing, from the King, Lord Aboyne, with a commission as King's Lieu- 
tenant, the Earls of Glencairn and Tullibardine, the laird of Drum, and some English 
officers ; one of whom, Colonel Gun, was to be Aboyne's general guide, but was afterwards 
suspected of having betrayed him. The fugitives went on board Aboyne's ship, and re- 
turned to Aberdeen. A larger vessel containing stores accompanied the lords, and put 
into the Firth of Forth to correspond with the Marquis of Hamilton, the King's 
Admiral; who, however, being an undecided politician, spoiled Aboyne's intended 
operation, by leaving him without the troops he was ordered to send off to his lord- 
ship to Aberdeen. The larger vessel also contained some ministers, sent back 
from their flight to the King, among them Mr. Thomas Thoirs, minister of Udny, 
and shortly after his return, of Daviot, and, for a time, a penitent professor of the 

Lord Aboyne, the King's Lieutenant. 271 


The landing of Lord Aboyne on the 6th June, along with the news that the King 
was at Berwick with an army, caused a speedy retreat of the Covenanting host from 
Aberdeen. Part of it was then besieging the house of Gicht, but being warned, marched 
south. Marischal betook himself to Dunnottar again, and the town of Aberdeen was once 
more in the hands of the Boyalists, and Aboyne then published his commission. Four 
days afterwards he set out, with a force of 2000 men, to Kintore, to impose the oath and a 
Bond of Allegiance to the King, devised in opposition to the Covenant. Hall-forest was 
there surrendered and plundered ; and Gordon of Haddo, whose house Craigievar's 
friends had just been investing, had the satisfaction of pillaging Fintray. Lord Fraser 
was next waited upon at Castle Fraser, but was absent. These plunderings took place 
on 10th, 11th, and 12th of June. On the 14th Aboyne marched from Aberdeen 
for Stonehaven, but his Highlanders having got a scare near Stonehaven by the sight of 
some cannons fired in their faces, he returned to Aberdeen. He was speedily followed, 
and crushed by losing the battle of the Brig o' Dee, where Montrose outmanoeuvred him. 

The bridge — little more than a mile south of Aberdeen — was properly fortified by 
Colonel Johnston, but Montrose, by making a feint of crossing the river above the bridge) 
drew Lord Aboyne away from the works, and carried the bridge, which Johnston had de- 
fended up to the time of his being carried to Aberdeen severely wounded. John Seton of 
Bourtie, carrying the Boyal colours, was killed in the fight. Montrose had such respect 
for him that he honoured his remains by a military funeral, along with these of Bamsay 
of Balmain's brother, an officer of his own, who had also fallen. The Covenanters firing 
over the body of the latter, at the door of the Old Kirk, now the "West Church of 
Aberdeen, shot through the head William Erskine, brother of the laird of Pittodrie, 
and one of their own supporters, " Quhairof," says Spalding quaintly, " never word 
nor tryell wes gottin, quhilk wes thocht mervallous, bot indeid he wes a wilful], 
malitious Covenanter". Colonel Johnston had offered to check the Covenanting 
force at a place south of the Dee, but his counsel was overruled by Crowner 
Gunn. Johnston believing the decision to have been given in bad faith, soon thereafter 
gave up the King's cause and went beyond seas, after denouncing in the Boyal presence, 
at Berwick, his former commander, Gunn, as a traitor, challenging him to single combat 
— a challenge not accepted by his opponent. 

Lord Aboyne, with the English officers who came with him, and the traitor Gunn, 
as he is called by Spalding, escaped on board their vessel, which continued to lie off 
Aberdeen, and joined the King again at Berwick. His Majesty, however, was at that 
juncture in possession of such a force that the Covenanters made overtures for a pacifica- 
tion, which resulted in Charles agreeing to abandon the attempted encroachments upon 
the Presbyterian forms of worship and government. The Marquis of Huntly was released 
from prison, but thought fit to take up his abode in Edinburgh, where, Spalding says, he 

272 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch, 

had two daughters married ; one a precise Puritan, the other a Eoman Catholic ; the 
Marquis himself being a good Covenanter at the time. The historian's notice of the 
diversified household is quite in keeping with the times. The Earl of Argyll, the uncle 
of the young ladies, was match-maker in the Papist as well as the Puritan alliance. Huntly 
soon after seems to have thought the King's quarters the safest place for him, and re- 
moved thither with his sons Lords Gordon and Aboyne, securing also a safe conduct for 
Ludovick, the fourth son, to follow. Sir Thomas Crombie of Kemnay speedily made 
after him, and next the lairds of Cluny and Poveran. 

The pacification agreed to was evidently not likely to continue ; the early part of 
1640 was accordingly employed by each party in making ready for a renewal of the 
conflict. The English Parliament summoned by the king would not support him against 
the Scottish Covenanters ; and the king was indebted to the purses and the influence 
of the English clergy for the means of raising a new army, and that one not quite trust- 
worthy, in his cause. Between that force and the Scots no collision took place until 
August, 1640, when the Covenanting troops, having marched into England, routed the 
king's forces at Newcastle while Charles was himself at York. But General Leslie 
had been, in April, called again to take command of the Scottish army, and the 
Covenanting chiefs set about imposing a new engagement upon the country in the 
form of a bond to assess all property for the maintenance of the executive of the 
Covenant. The local committee that was to deal with the tax to be levied on Aber- 
deenshire were Lord Fraser, the Master of Forbes, the Lairds of Philorth, Mony- 
musk, and Craigievar, and George Baird of Auchmedden. Walter Forbes of Thainston, 
called Young Tolquhon, was a subordinate. His son Sir Alexander, then a boy, 
fought for Charles I. at Worcester. The proceedings of those tax-masters were of 
an interesting and instructive character. The Earl Marischal, being General of the 
North, took an oath of the committee that they should do nothing but by his advice. 
In the matter of taxation, congenial to the whole of them, he seems to have displayed 
his skill as a strategist, collecting from some parishes what the Forbeses thought had 
been assigned to their handling, and the loss of which made them complain more loudly 
than collectors for a common purse generally do when they are saved trouble by some 
part of their work being done for them. The taxation made was evidently of that 
elastic kind which could supplement itself by a little plundering ; a protective force, 
under General Munro, having been sent to Aberdeen to let the appointed work be carried 
on without resistance. 

The Garioch was of course attended to along with other districts. A pillaging force 
from Aberdeen visited the Kemnay girnal once more and emptied it, and then went on 
to Fetternear ; but being prepared only to steal, and not to fight, turned back upon 
finding Hector Abercromby have his gates barred and himself ready to shoot his un- 
welcome visitors. The fall of a soldier caused the whole foraging party to retire forth- 
with ; hut the laird, anticipating another attack, immediately packed up all he could 

Tlie Earl of Argyll 273 

transport, and with his family set off for the universal refuge — the King. Shortly after- 
wards, on the 27th of June, a force of 200 witb their officers plundered the Houses of , 
Balbithan and Hedderwick (Chalmers) and Lcthinty (Urquhart), and destroyed the 
doors and gates of Newton (Gordon) ; and crowned their day's exploits by seizing some 
anti-Covenanter ministers of the Garioch, whom they forced to march on foot to Aberdeen 
to prison. These were Mr. Andrew Logie of Bayne, Mr. John Cheyne of Kintore, Mr. 
William Leith of Kinkell, Mr. William Strachan of Daviot, and Mr. Samuel Walcar of 
Monkegy. The Garioch pillaging party, with their prey and prisoners, reached Aber- 
deen on 1st July. Next day the young Earl Marischal returned to Aberdeen from 
Edinburgh, and set about the work in which, while a Covenanter, he is seen more in 
than in fighting. His kinsman, the Laird of Haddo, had, in order to save his property,"'' 
professed to join the Covenanting party, giving in his adherence personally to the Earl ; 
and Marischal let him go home from Eunnottar to Kelly, after making him unexpectedly 
pay a smart fine of 1600 merks, which he had thought to escape by submission. Gordon 
of Newton sought safety in the same way, but, with the degree of faith prevalent at the 
time, only speedily to break his oath. The utter insecurity of property Spalding illus- 
trates by one example : — " In the meintyme Marschalli's men, who wes plunderit be the 
Gordouns and thair companie at Straquhan, Kintor, and Halforrest, as ye may reid befoir, 
wes soundlie payit bak at thair owne hand with the annuellis, but making of price. So 
an evill turne meitis ane uther." Safe plundering, combined with prudent avoidance 
of danger in fighting, is the kind of occurrence that is with amusing frequency 
set before the reader of the Aberdeen Commissary Clerk's graphic notes; and no 
one can read them and entertain much respect for the mass of tbe actors in a contest 
which was all the while resonant with professions of high principle. Indeed the his- 
tory of the Eeformation in Scotland from the beginning, as far as the great lairds were 
actually engaged in it, was too generally such as to make the plundering of the 
girnal its appropriate type. One of the Garioch clerical prisoners of 1st July, Mr. 
Logie, was suspended by a committee of Assembly then sitting in Aberdeen, and on 
28th July the General Assembly sitting at Aberdeen deposed him. 


It was during the suspension of active hostilities against the King, in 1640, that the 
Earl of Argyll, afterwards a moving spirit in the tragic events of the Civil War, appeared 
first as a leader. The Committee of Estates assigned to him the task of harrying the 
property of some of his personal foes, especially that of burning " the bonnie House o' 
Airly". The Earl of Airly had fled to England, and Argyll had the work of destroying 
an undefended house and thoroughly ravaging the lands around it. That bit of 
cateran-like violence took place in June, and at the same time Athol and Lochaber were 
reduced to subjection, while opportunity continued of getting opponents easily put down. 


274 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Gordon says about the affair — " In this acte it was observed by all that Argyll was the 
first who raised fyre in Scotland, by burning Airly's house, as Generall Lesly had first 
begunne plundering at Inverowrye." Argyll had two mfeims often on his tongue, 
which were of very comprehensive consequence in his subsequent practice : " Absein- 
dantur qui nos perturbant " ; and " Mortui non mordent ". 

The Earl of Argyll was at that time forty-two years of age, and had twenty years 
of a painfully eventful life before him, which terminated in his own execution eleven 
years after he had indulged himself in the bitter satisfaction of seeing the Marquis of 
Montrose suffer a similar fate. Two portraits of Argyll hang in the Castle of Inverary, 
showing very different countenances. One, which might be of the date of his first ap- 
pearance, is a disagreeable one— a hard cynical look being intensified by something 
like a cast of the eyes. The other portrait, painted long after, exhibits a countenance 
burdened with care, irresolute in expression, and as if under a forecast of fear. A like- 
ness of Montrose hangs above this portrait, a younger face of course, for he suffered at 
the age of 38. It shows a heavy jaw, broad firm features, and a rather low brow. A 
memorial of Argyll still remains near Inverary, but is wasting now. It is the fine beech 
avenue of the Dim Loch which he planted in 1660, the year before his death. 

During 1640 the Committee of Estates, then an instrument in the hands of the 
- Covenanting Nobles, was, while professing loyalty to the King, levying taxes to make 
war upon him. The rental of the country had been taken up, and every rent of 50 
chalders was required to furnish one rickmaster, with sword, pistol, carbine or lance, and 
a horse worth 80 pounds Scots. A receipt from the Earl Marischal dated 7th August, 
1640, certifies " George Leslie, late Eailie of Inverurie, and the rest of the communitie, 
has given aucht men to Capitanne Thomas , all furnished according to their stent ". 

The serious work of the Covenanters was at this time resting on the shoulders of 
General Leslie, who was upon the Eorder or in England with his army, in which his 
relative, the Baron of Balquhain, was serving. The North under the presidency of 
General Munro was chiefly a scene of plunder. The Earl Marischal and the Master of 
Forbes, rivals for local supremacy, had to be quieted by the Committee of Estates. Each 
wished to have the chief handling of the assessment imposed ; Marischal because he was 
commander in the district, and the Master because he was chief of a clan, and bound to 
give obedience to no man. Forbes was to be disbanded by the Estates, but he rode to 
General Leslie who established his regiment; but in February, 1641, it was disbanded, 
not without the Earl Marischal's " procurement in sum measour becaus they war hot 
sillie poor naikit soldiouris burdenabill to the countrie, and not meit for soldiarie. Thus 
is he set besyde the cushioun for his sinceritie and forwardnes in the good causs." 

The pressure of Argyll's political influence was becoming disagreeable in the self- 
seeking community of Lords, and a new league and covenant upon a small scale was 
secretly signed by the Earls Montrose, Marischal, Marr, Strathearn, Southesk, Seaforth, 
Wigton, Perth, Lord Napier, and others, to cast off the peremptory rule sought to be 

The Earl of Argyll. 275 

established by the Earls of Argyll and Eothes, Lords Lindsay, Loudoun, Balmerinocli, 
Couper, and others, " over as worthie nobles as thanieselffis". This document had to be 
burned in presence of the Committee of Estates, in order to prevent the common enemy 
from taking advantage of the evident disruption of confidence evinced by it. Only a 
nominal harmony was restored, however ; and the way was opened for a new formation 
of parties, two or three years later, when the successes of the English Parliamentarian 
party made the Scottish barons and clergy generaUy aware that the English would look 
to their own objects more than to the special ecclesiastical desires of the northern 
kingdom. Argyll pursued his self-aggrandising policy with unscrupulous perseverance, 
until he became the chief power in the state; and in his course had first to set himself to 
suppress all his most powerful confederates of former years, as dangerous rivals. Mon- 
trose was shortly in prison, and when he appeared in the face of the country again it 
was as the best soldier of King Charles, leading a brilliant but not successful enterprise 
on his bahalf, with Argyll generally keeping out of his way. 

In the spring of 1641 submission to the Covenant was the universal policy ; because 
of the cost of standing apart when there were so many administrators of the rough and 
ready discipline of plundering. In March, 1641, Lethinty was visited by a new exactor, 
Lord Sinclair, who had received from the laird, Patrick Urquhart, 600 merks of cess for 
his regiment, and immediately needed 3000 more in lieu of harrying his lands. The 
crafty Commissary for the Northern Shires — Mr. Eobert Farquhar of Mounie — was like 
to be in some trouble for paying the Aberdonians in mity meal for quartering the 
regiment of Frasers, which seems to have been a despicably debauched body, causing 
Aberdeen much shame. The Laird of Haddo had tried to purchase immunity from 
being pillaged by asking the Earl Marischal, his relative, to receive him as a Cove- 
nanter, and paying him a fine. He had, however, fixed himself in the recollection of 
Andrew Lord Fraser, and of John Forbes of Leslie by plundering Muchalls, and taking 
Forbes to Strathbogy, and pjutting him to ransom at 1000 merks, besides appropriating his 
best horse ; and the two got him condemned by the Committee of Estates to pay 10,000 
merks to Lord Fraser and 3500 to the Laird of Leslie. The most indomitable of the 
Garioch Eoyalists, John Leith of Harthill, was at that time chained by the foot in the 
prison of Aberdeen, as much a terror to the authorities as if he had been a wild beast. 
In January of that year Lord Gordon subscribed the Covenant at Newcastle. 

The custom of wearing arms, which unavoidably arose in the existing condition of 
the country, led to many unfortunate encounters. One occurred on Monday, 31st 
October, 1642, between John Forbes of Leslie and Sir Gilbert Menzies of Pitfoddels. 
The two were on indifferent terms because of some old revenges ; Leslie's father having 
killed Pitfoddels' goodsire's brother unworthily, and Leslie having broken tryst with 
Menzies anent a meeting to settle a dispute about a Moss. They chanced to meet, on the 
Monday named, at the Craibstane, the scene of several encounters of country lairds 
with Aberdeen citizens in earlier times. Spalding describes the encounter thus : " Thay 

276 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

meit, gois by, but salutation. Pitfoddellis took it unkyndlie, and pursewis, betwixt 
whome sindrie schottis was schott, as is said. Aluays thay pairtit, both cumis on to 
the towne. Pitfoddelis gois to his owne houss, and Leslie to Mr. Robert Farquharis 
hous. He lay under care quhill Januar, 1643, and then began to walk upone ane staf 
feblie, and not soundlie heallit." The Craibstane in Hardgate of Aberdeen is still to be 
seen at the back of "West Craibstone Street. In those days a region of crofts possessed 
by the burgesses occupied the site of modern Aberdeen west of the Denburn and its Bow- 
brig, by which the King's highway issued southward, climbing and descending the Win d- 
millbrae and the Hardgate, along many a gradient, to the Brig o' Dee. Historical names 
survive in the titles of the crofts, one called Ediepingle, thus commemorating Adam 
Pyngill, burgess of Aberdeen in 1376, at that time a small laird in the Garioch (p. 66). 

By midsummer, 1641, a new phase came upon Scottish affairs. The Scots army 
under General Leslie had come in sight of the King's English force in the north of Eng- 
land, and an interview granted by his Majesty to the General led the way to a pacifica- 
tion. The King accompanied Leslie to Edinburgh : a Parliament was held, and political 
prisoners were set at liberty. Both parties were gratified by the bestowal of honours 
from the Crown : Argyll was made Marquis; Loudoun an Earl; General Leslie created 
Earl of Leven; Sir George Ogilvie created Lord Banff; John Gordon of Haddo a 
Baronet ; while the Earl Marischal got a profitable tack of the customs of Aberdeen, 
and the new Marquis of Argyll valuable wadsets from his brother-in-law the Marquis of 
Huntly. The young Laird of Frendraught was created Viscount Crichton, his father 
refusing to be called anything but Laird. 

In August of that year, Aberdeen acquired the but partially welcome possession of 
Mr. Andrew Cant as one of its ministers, the General Assembly settling him against 
opposition. Mr. Andrew Cant had been minister of Pitsligo, and in 1639 was translated 
to Xewbottle. He was chosen one of the three clerical members of the Tables, and 
learned there the exercise of a dictatorial temper, which made him a prominent indi- 
vidual for the next twenty years. The other clerical leaders were Henderson and Dickson. 
The famous Gillespie had also been proposed by the General Assembly as a proper 
minister for the stiff-necked city of Bon-Accord, but had refused to go. During the 
general conciliation the King bestowed pensions on both Henderson and him ; Cant we 
may believe presented no promise of friendliness. He was in after life tyrannical when 
in power, and insubordinate where he might, when in a minority ; patronising heresy 
when he chose, and using his influence to overstep the law, in getting arrests executed 
on the Sabbath, for his own purposes. In the following year Cant contrived to get 
Mr. John Bow, schoolmaster of St. Johnston, brought to one of the Aberdeen churches 
and the pair afterwards dominated in the Presbytery and Synod, or set the rest at 
defiance by means of personal boldness ; and when threatened with discipline for schis- 
matic proceedings, procured the intervention of Cromwell's Colonels. Dr. John Forbes, 
Professor of Divinity in King's College, the late Bishop's son, was deposed as an 

The Earl of Argyll. 277 

anti-Covenanter, and the Garioch Presbytery, which contained at the time several 
ministers of a high class, sent two candidates to the competition for his chair — Mr. 
John Seton of Kemnay and Mr. George Leith of Culsalmond. The minister of Forgue, 
Mr. William Douglas, was elected. .-- . 

In 1642, the first gallery was erected in Old Aberdeen Cathedral. The reredos of 
the higli altar had remained since the Keformation — a magnificent wall of carved oak. 
The minister broke it down, making a gallery of the cut-up ornament. He could not 
get a carpenter to do the work until he first put his own hand to the Vandal- 
like act. The students and schoolboys of that time were wont to put the dicta- 
torial clergy to no small trouble. Yule-day happening in 1642 to fall on a Monday, 
the ministers of the Old Town sent out the bellman, ordering all manner of men to open 
their booth doors and go to work ; but the students fell upon the man and took the bell 
from him, and the people kept Christmas according to their own tastes. On Candlemas- 
day, next year, the boys of the Old Town Grammar school ostentatiously arranged a new 
kind of procession. They marched bearing lighted candles, to set a torch upon the top 
of the Cross, and then, with their candles burning, conducted home, to his lodgings in 
the Chanonry, John Keith, the • Earl Marischal's brother, afterwards the first Earl of 
Kintore, whom they had chosen for their king on the occasion. 

The sympathies of the Aberdonians were evidently much with the forms and 
customs of public worship to which they had been accustomed. The fatal Service Book, 
which in Edinburgh was the occasion of the irresistible combination being formed 
against the king's ecclesiastical measures, was accepted pleasantly enough in Aberdeen. 
The Presbyterian form of communion observance was a novelty there in 1641, al- 
though forty years later, under the second Episcopacy, nothing else was known in 
Scotland, even in the Cathedrals. Spalding describes the service in 1641, as conducted 
by Mr. William Strachan in Old Aberdeen, exactly as an Englishman might describe 
the service now, noting the same differences from what he had been accustomed to. 
In 1643, he depicts with his own realistic talent how the service was held by Mr. 
Andrew Cant " not efter the old fashion, kneilling, bot sitting, nor the people sufferit to 
pray when Mr. Androw Cant prayit, as their custom wes befoir, but all to be silent and 
dum, nor their communiun breid baikin nor distribute as wes wont, bot efter ane new 
fashioun of breid, for it was baikin in ane round loaf lyk ane trynscheour, syne cuttit 
out in lang scheives, hanging be ane tak ; and first the minister takis ane scheive efter 
the blissing, and brakis ane peice, and gives to him who is narrest, and he gives the 
scheive to his nightbour, who takis ane peice, and syne gives it to his nightbour, whill 
it be spent ; and syne an elder gives in ane uther scheive where the first scheive left, and 
so forth. The like breid and service wes nevir sein in Abirdene befoir the cuming of 
Mr. Androw Cant to be thair minister." 

In 1642 the Covenanting leaders deceived themselves grievously in their negotia- 
tions with Ihe Parliament of England. When a severe contest with the King was 

278 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Gfarioch. 

plainly imminent the Parliament looked for aid to a Scottish army. The Episcopalian 
hierarchy were in England the chief support of the Royal cause, and perhaps to punish 
them as well as to conciliate the Scots the Parliament adopted the Solemn League and 
Covenant. To the wishful thoughts of the Tables that was the adoption of Scottish 
Presbyterianism for the national religion of Britain, and they accepted a subsidy of 
£10,000 for the purpose of equipping a Scottish force to co-operate with the army of the 
Parliament in the great cause. They discovered their mistake as soon as the contest 
had resulted in the defeat of King Charles ; when they found the Independents, who 
abounded in the English army, asserting themselves with something of the power of the 
sword against all ecclesiastical organisations and offices alike. Before long Cromwell's 
Colonels commanding in Scotland were a fixed thorn in the side of the Kirk. 

When in February, 1643, the king was engaged in hostilities with the army raised 
by the English Parliament, the Lieutenant-General of the royal forces was General King, 
the last nominal King of Barra. He had just brought from Denmark to Charles, £500,000 
and a number of good officers. Whether the product of imaginations excited by the 
incessant troubles then occurring, or having an ex post f ado origin, various portents of the 
victories obtained by the king were reported from different places as having occurred, in 
the form of drums heard beating at Ellon, armies seen in the air at the Muir of Forfar, 
a battle fought by a great army of horse aud foot, seen in the mist, at eight in the 
morning, on the Brimmond Hill, near Craibston, in Aberdeenshire. 

In the summer of 1643, the Scots in England were finding themselves cavalierly 
treated by the leaders of the Parliamentary army, and defections were taking place. 
General Urrie resigned the command he held in General Leslie's army, and went to 
the king. He soon left him again, and we find him afterwards serving in the Garioch, 
on the Covenanting side, and defeated by Montrose. Proclamations and counter decla- 
rations, by the King and the Estates, were pleading the opposite sides before the 
country. On 15th June, the Marquis of Huntly, by his Majesty's command, convened 
his friends at Aberdeen and then at Inverurie, and published a declaration, emitted by 
the king at Oxford, 21st April, 1643, rebutting the allegations of the Covenanters. At 
Broomend, near Inverurie, a little later, on the occasion of the laird of Braco's funeral, 
Sir John Gordon of Haddo, Braco's relative, quarrelled with Alexander Jaffray, junior, 
afterwards of Ardtannies, who, with his father and brother, were there, and assaulted 
the Baillie seriously, following up the violence by a foolish bravado in the streets of 
Aberdeen. This attack was an item in the catalogue of offences that caused Haddo to be 
condemned to death and executed at Edinburgh, in July, 1644. 

The inevitable falling out of confederates in a double-minded counsel went on 
apace in 1643. Lord Gordon, the Covenanter — whom his father, the Marquis of Huntly, 
could not be prevailed upon to receive into favour and support farther than to let him 
have the use of his house in Aberdeen, and the supply of peats stacked in the court — had 
to be provided for. The Committee of Estates divided the Sheriffdom of Aberdeen 

The Earl of Argyll 279 

between him and Earl Marischal. Discontent was first bred by this in Lord Forbes, 
whose influence had not been sufficient to procure him a share in the taxable territory ; 
and next in Marischal, because Lord Gordon had got the biggest share. A portion had 
to be found for Lord Forbes, who thereupon had a rival presenting himself in the person 
of Frendraught, now Viscount Crichton, but succeeded in securing the new place for 
himself. Inverurie, it is likely, was included in the Earl Marischal's slice of the county, 
as he appears there frequently at that time. 


Argyll was now fairly at the head of affairs, Lord General of the Earl of Leven's 
army, an ornamental post, which, well for him, had inferred no necessity of military 
skill, but which must have exercised Leslie's remarkable power of management to keep 
from resulting in abundant harm. Among the nobles not attending the army, the new 
Marquis was becoming more and more suspected and dreaded, and matters were rapidly 
becoming ripe for the appearance on the field of Montrose — likewise bearing the rank of 
Marquis, but now holding the King's Commission. , — » 

The Marquis of Huntly was not in arms at that time ; but, being suspected by the 
Estates, an order was issued for his arrest — by authority of the Committee of Estates — 
addressed to the laird of Drum, Sheriff-Principal of the County of Aberdeen, which 
order Drum seemed to fail in executing. Huntly resolved to rise in his own 
defence, while he had yet time. He tried Earl Marischal and others to co-operate with 
him ; but caution still prevailed in that party, however discontented with Argyll they 
were. On 26th March, Gordon came to Kintore with 240 horse, and, largely reinforced 
by the lairds of his old party, he rode to Aberdeen and published a declaration that he 
was forced to rise in defence of his personal liberty. There stood by the Marquis in 
that demonstration young Drum (his father keeping quiet) ; the Lairds of Echt, elder 
and younger ; Newton, elder and younger ; Haddo, Abergeldie, Carnburrow, Letter- 
furie, and Invermarkie, Arradoul, and Ardlogie — all Gordons ; Innes of Tibberty, Innes 
of Balveny, Seton of Schethin, Leith of Harthill, Meldrum of Iden, and — a sign of new 
councils — some of the Earl Marischal's men joined him at Kintore. 

The Marquis's appearance in such guise alarmed all the Covenanting local chiefs. 
They hastily removed their meal girnals and other goods to such places of safety as 
they could. Craigievar, Echt, Tolquhon, Waterton, and Monymusk all prepared to 
defend their own houses. Lord Fraser carried all his victual to Cairnbulg, except his 
corn ricks at Stoneywood, and these he threshed out, and sowed the grain upon untilled 
ground, ploughing down the seed hastily. The Lord Forbes fled to Kildrummj'. One 
armed band was roaming the country, which respected no one worth plundering. It 
was a party of the broken men under James Grant, a notorious partisan of Huntly 
in former times. He rifled the royalist house of Kemnay of 600 merks of money and 

280 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

all its valuables, and next the Covenanting laird of Pittodrie's lands, and house of 
Mounie, at that time the property of Mr. Eobert Farquhar. The last Seton of Meldrum, 
son-in-law of Frendraught, and " a precise puritane," was a sufferer at the same time — 
the Laird of Haddo, Sehethin, and Tibbertie, with 20 horse and 80 musketeers, having 
visited him, as at the same Straloeh, Turriff, Towie, and Barclay, with the customary results. 

The dashing exploits of Huntly's followers he was never engaged in himself. The 
first was a picturesque one. On the 1st March, Sir John Gordon of Haddo, Alexander 
Irvine younger of Drum, Eobert his brother, "William Seton of Shethin, William Lines 
of Tibberty, and some others, with about sixty horse, galloped through the Old Town of 
Aberdeen about seven in the morning to the city, and took Provost Leslie, Mr. Eobert 
Farquhar, and Alexander Jaffrey, junior, and his brother John, out of their houses, 
and plundered the laird of Pittodrie's saddle horse, and some others, and left the town 
only about ten o'clock without any opposition, riding through the Gallowgate back to the 
Old Town. They rode through the Loch Wynd, drank at Kintore, lodged all night at 
Legatsden, and carried then- captives to Strathbogy, whence they were taken to Auchin- 
doun. Huntly in a few weeks set them free in a fright while he was starting upon a 
solitary night before the enemy he had never boldly faced. The insult to the city seems 
to have been deeply felt, and revenge was sought through the Committee of Estates. 

The Garioch was immediately to become the scene of the assembling of the oppos- 
ing Scottish parties, which the timidity of both the antagonistic Marquises made little 
more than an affair of masters. Inverurie was the place of a gathering on behalf of the 
King, on 11th April, 1644. Huntly had appointed the rendezvous, and there were present 
about 2500 troops, of which 400 was cavalry. The lairds of Gicht and Newton were 
with him, and the Tutor of Struan came out of Athol with about 60 men to him. " He 
stayit at Innerurie Saterday and Sonday, and lodgit in umquhil William Fergus, his 
hous," and his men quartered about him within the town. His lodging was on the east 
side of Market Place, in the part of the house which William Ferguson was fined 1 00 
lbs. for building beyond his ground in 1619. On that Sunday Huntly and several of 
them that joined him at Kintore were excommunicated in the Church of St. Giles, 

This display was the forerunner of but little action ; to account for which at least 
in part, it has to be recalled to mind that the Marquis of Huntly had suffered badly 
from previously trusting Montrose. He in consequence shrank from confiding in the 
new Marquis, even when now in command for the King. 

They marched to Aberdeen on Monday, about six hours at even, with a banner 
bearing " C.E. For God, the King, and against all Traitors. God save the King." 
Spalding says, " The Marquis and his followers weir ane black tafletie about their craig, 
quhilk was ane signe to fight to the death ; but it provit otherwayes," he quaintly adds. 
Hearing at Aberdeen, on Wednesday the 17th April, that the Covenanting party were 
drawing strongly to a head against him — Lord Elcho having arrived at Dundee with 500 

The Marquis of H until/ in Ann". 281 

Fife men, the Earls of Kinghorn and Soutliesk bringing 800, the Marquis of Argyll 
having 500 from Perthshire and 1000 from Argyll, with 800 from Ireland, and Earl 
Marischal and Lord Arhuthnot bringing 500 out of the Mearns. Huntly seems to have 
been backward to take action at first, but on the urgency of his friends, he ordered by 
sound of trumpet at the cross of Aberdeen, all who had his protection to meet him at 
Inverurie next day, 18th April. Leaving Major Hay with some horse and foot to keep 
Aberdeen, he rode to Inverurie on the 17th, Alexander Irvine of Drum following him 
in the afternoon with some 40 horse. He quartered his men in Inverurie, Kintore, and 
Castle Eraser, and lodged again in William Ferguson's house on Wednesday and Thurs- 
day. He despatched an expedition into Forfarshire, under the Tutor of Struan, with 
M'Eanald, and Donald Farquharson of Invercauld or Monaltrie, a man much esteemed 
by the king, and returned himself to Aberdeen on the Friday. He lay inactive in 
Aberdeen until Argyll, after some check by the party sent into Forfarshire, approached 
in force, and the Forbeses and Frasers and other Covenanters came out again — who had 
taken to their defensible houses upon Huntly showing some courage at first. He was 
urged to go out of the town, to meet the enemies approaching, but pleaded that the 
Aberdeenshire Covenanters would immediately seize it. In a few days he resolved to 
retire to his own fastnesses at Strathbogy, Auchindoun, and the Bog. 

On the 4th May, Argyll was at Inverurie in pursuit, after plundering the house of 
Drum, on account of the young laird's partnership with Huntly. His troop encamped 
from Kintore to Inverurie, and were provisioned from Aberdeen. From Inverurie he 
held some communication with the Marquis of Huntly at Auchindoun, and on Monday, 
7th May, he made an expedition to Kelly (Haddo House) where the laird, a partizan of 
Huntly's, had fortified himself. Baillie Jaffray reached his force there from Auchin- 
doun. With Argyll there went from Inverurie the Earl Marischal, the Lord Gordon, 
the Lord Fraser, the Master of Forbes, and divers other barons. The regiment of 
Irishes was left behind at Inverurie. The laird of Haddo had to surrender, and among 
his party holding out Kelly with him were Captain Logie from Eayne Manse, and a 
son of Chalmcr of Drimmies. 

At Inverurie, Argyll, as commander-in-Chief, under the Convention of Estates, 
issued, on 6th May, his proclamation to the heritors and freeholders within the Sheriff- 
dom of Aberdeen and Banff, to repair to Turriff by 10 forenoon on 16th May instant, 
with their best horses and horsemen, arms, and 48 hours' provisions. He ordered the 
proclamation to be read from the pulpits, and recommended the moderator of every 
Presbytery in the bounds to give up lists of the heritors and freeholders in their dis- 
tricts. Another act was to be read out of the pulpits at the same time, excommunicating 
Huntly and his chief adherents. The proclamation was pretty well obeyed, and the 
muster at Turriff amounted to 709 horse and 1300 foot. "They met on the Inch at 
Turriff, and had ten colours, ten drums, six trumpeters, with brave captains, and well- 
armed soldiers." Huntly, with continuing pusillanimity, left Auchindoun on the 



282 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

threatening approach of Argyll, and, carrying what money and goods with him he could, 
escaped alone per varios casus to Caithness. One of his party was caught in the attempt 
to rifle his treasure chest. The Laird of Drum, son-in-law to the Marquis, with some 
others, went after him to Caithness, and were sold to the Covenanters by Francis 
Sinclair, brother of the Earl of Caithness. 

Argyll's departure from Inverurie has its date probably fixed by the following 
receipt : " 1644, 4th June. Capitaine William Erskine, of my Lord Gordon his regi- 
ment, grants the receipt of William Petrie and Alexander Hay, from George Leslie and 
Thomas Eandall, on behalf of the towne of Inverurie, complete arms, lin arms, and trans- 
port money, and their half of ane baggage hors." Argyll, with Lord Gordon, in hot 
haste went north, and, missing both Marquis and treasure, set his Irishes upon Auchin- 
doun. His own turn to retreat, however, was at hand, and Inverurie received another 
visit from his pursuer, Montrose, who was now in arms for the King, and bearing the 
title of Marquis. 


The historian Hume attributes Montrose's adherence at first to the Covenant to 
resentment at having been slighted by the King, through the jealous management of the 
Marquis of Hamilton, when, on coming home from his travels, he was first presented to 
his Majesty ; and says that afterwards, when he had an interview with King Charles as 
an envoy from the Tables, the reception he received fascinated him so, that he from that 
day became a devoted Eoyalist. When he took the field for the King it was at the 
head of a force which he had assembled in Athol. He was joined by the Early of Airly, 
Lord Spynie, Lord Dupplin, and a number more. His following contained a valuable con- 
tingent of Irish soldiers, much heard of afterwards. He made for the North, marching 
with pretty steady success, by the same route Argyll had taken against Huntly, through 
Perthshire, Angus, and Mearns, towards the Dee. He crossed at the Mills of Drum, and 
made his head-quarters in Crathes, which the Baronet of Leys surrendered. On the 1 3th 
September he fought the Battle of Aberdeen at the Two-mile Cross on Deeside — his Irish 
soldiers securing the victory, and getting as reward the town to plunder, which they did 
with sufficient activity. The appetite of the Irish in that way was omnivorous, as ap- 
pears from minutes of Presbyterial visitations of parishes about 16G0, which report that 
the passage of the " Irishes " over the Garioch left the kirks bare of pulpit bibles, com- 
munion tablecloths, &c. On Saturday, 14th September, the Marquis ordered the march 
of his troops, with the exception of the Irish plunderers, to Kintore, Inverurie, and the 
Garioch. He himself stayed in Aberdeen over Sunday, and on Monday marched with 
the part of his forces left in Aberdeen. His camp extended from Kintore to Liklyhead. 
Sir William Forbes of Craigievar, who had been made prisoner in the battle, he carried 
with him, but very speedily granted him liberty on parole, which that baronet broke. 

Argyll was at Brechin when he heard of the Eoyalist victory. After consultation 
with the Earl Marischal, Lord Forbes, Lord Fraser, and Lord Crichton, he started in his 

The Marquis of Montrose. 383 

peculiar way of pursuit, ami reached the Dee the day after Montrose left Aberdeen ; 
but stopped before going further, to plunder the lands of Drum, proclaim Montrose a 
traitor, and offer a reward for his body living or dead, instead of going to take it himself. 

Montrose left Inverurie on 1 8th September, on hearing of Argyll's neighbourhood 
with such a force as he was reported to have had. He retired upon the Spey, and being 
unable to cross it for want of boats, and also finding the county of Moray opposed to 
him, went westward and took up a position in the wood of Abernethy. Argyll, after 
waiting until his enemy had two days' start of him instead of half-a-day's, followed him 
from Drum the length of Strathbogy, but retired again to Aberdeen, where the Earl of 
Findlater and several county barons met him. There he held a council of war on 
23rd September, attended by Earl Marischal, Lord Gordon, Lord Forbes, Lord 
Eraser, Lord Crichton, &c; but they seem to have given counsel alone, and no assistance 
for the f ui'ther pursuit of the enemy. The Eoyalist Marquis, on finding himself not fol- 
lowed, left the wood of Abernethy and got to Eothiemurcus ; thence proceeded through 
Badenoch and Athol, adding much to his following ; and sweeping down again upon 
Forfarshire, seized the House of Dun, where much property of the burgesses of Mon- 
trose was laid up for safety, and also four brass field-pieces, lost by Lord Aboyne at 
the Bridge of Dee. 

That exploit forced his politic but unsoldierly opponent into action again ; but \ 
under the serious difficulty of having the Covenanting lords in a state of chronic dis- 
content with him. Argyll was at the Bog of Gight. He resolved to attack the Boyalists, 
and planned with the aid of the Earl Marischal, who was in possession of Aberdeen, 
to environ then at the Bridge of Dee. The Eoyalist leader, a more skilled strategist, 
escaped with his smaller force between the two. He crossed Hhe river at Crathes 
(where the laird entertained him), marched through Echt, burning the Kirktown, — 
burned Pittodrio on 18th October, — dined at Monymusk on Saturday, the 19th, with 
the Lady (the Laird of Crathes' daughter), who managed to get the place exempted 
from pillage — and next day, Sunday, marched towards Frendraught, and, foraging, went 
on to Strathbogy. Douglas in his Baronage records his relative, Sir William Forbes of 
Monymusk, as a great loyalist who suffered much in the Eing's cause. His only suf- 
ferings were, as an active Covenanter, from the King's actual supporters. The lairds 
of the harried houses got authority from the Estates subsequently to recoup them- 
selves out of the rents of certain " Papists ". 

The Aberdeenshire Covenanters were getting into a state of suicidal disagreement. 
Lord Gordon had been nominated, by the Committee of Estates, Lieutenant of the 
North ; but when he appointed a rendezvous at Eildrummy for 2nd September, Lord 
Forbes, Lord Fraser, and Lord Crichton would not condescend to follow him ; and he 
was left with his own force, afraid to quit the Erskine stronghold. The Committee, in 
order not to lose the services of their so-called clans, revised the commissions issued, 
and gave a command to Lord Forbes ; whereupon Lord Gordon withdrew, and, as the 

284 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Gar loch. 

\ result of bis chagrin, Ire ultimately joined Montrose. The Covenanting muster, which 
\ was ordered to take place at Aberdeen, of the sheriffdoms of Kincardine, Aberdeen, 
iand Banff, wanted all Kincardine and most of Banff, Lord Gordon, and the Earl 
Marischal. Only the Forbeses of Monymusk, Leslie, Tolquhon Ecbt, Corsindae, Lairgy, 
and Waterton, Lord Forbes, the Frasers, the Crichtons, Skene, Udny, Glenkindie, Lord 
Erroll's men, and some Keiths from Buchan, arrived at the muster. 

On Friday, 25th October, a week after Montrose bad burned the place of Pittodrie, 
the Marquis of Argyll crossed the Gariocb in pursuit of him from Aberdeen with a force 
of 2000 men. He slept the first night in Kintore, next night in Inverurie, and heard 
sermon there on Sunday. Lord Lothian's regiment came to him there, but neither 
Mariscbal nor Lord Gordon would rise with him, such was their dread of Montrose. Mon- 
trose had gone down to Fyvie, where, and at Tolly Barclay, he was able to provision 
himself. On the Monday, Argyle marched from Inverurie to the wood of Fyvie, where 
be learned that the Royalists were lying, but their commander made excellent use of 
his position in the wood against the enemy's horse. In a hot skbmish which ensued, 
Alexander Keith, brother to the Earl Mariscbal, fell ; and, during Tuesday and Wed- 
nesday, Montrose, with little loss to himself, inflicted great slaughter on his assailants. 
Argyll retired to Cricbie in Formartine, and his enemy marched off after that in 
" fair day licht " to Turriff, which he plundered, and next to Eothiemay, which place 
met with a similar fate. The flight of Argyll on board his galleys at Inverlochy before 
the army of Montrose followed on Candlemas day, 1645. 

The Gariocb until next year was free from the presence of the main forces of either 
side, and had only to endure the local plunderings, flights, and revenges, which were 
always sure to till up gaps in the tragic action of the time. A clever seizure, effected in 
order to help out the furnishing of a troop to serve Montrose, took place on 23rd 
February, 1645, at Inverurie. Young Gicht, young Harthill, and some acconipbces, 
took ten of Craigievar's troop lying carelessly on their beds within their quarters at 
Inverurie. They took their horses, their moneys, their apparel and arms, and gave the 
men liberty to go ; " whairat," Spalding needlessly adds, " Craigievar wes heichlie 
offendit ". Craigievar liked better to plunder than to be plundered. 

Patrick Leith, Younger, of Harthill, paid for this exploit with his life. He was 
shortly after taken, and at the age of twenty-five suffered death at the hands of the relent- 
less party then in power. Craigievar obtained afterwards a revenge more gratifying than 
creditable ; that of turning the Lady of Lethinty out of her undefended house, and 
emptying it, and afterwards putting the Laird of Kemnay's widow to the door. She 
lost Sir Thomas Crombie in 1644. The Covenanting Committee of Aberdeen had the 
year before assigned to Craigievar the duty of going to Harthill and turning out the 
lady, with her children and servants, while her husband was lying in prison in Edin- 
burgh and no one left to defend his house. 

After chasing Argyll into the sea at Inverlochy, Montrose was supreme in the 

The Marquis of Montrose. 2S5 

North. He made his head-quarters at Elgin, where he was joined by the Laird of 
Grant ; and punished the Covenanting barons,, especially harrying the lands of the 
Earl of Findlater and the Laird of Frendraught. The town of Aberdeen made terms 
with him, and on the 10th March he wrote ordering the drum to summon all within 
the shire, between 16 and 60, to meet him, with their best arms and best horse, on 
the 15 th March, at his camp at Inverurie, under pain of fire and sword. He had to 
make this preparation to meet the approach of a new commander— Lord Balcarras — sent 
against him by the Estates. He marched on 12th March from Frendraught to Kintore, 
Kinkell, and Inverurie, in which neighbourhood his army was quartered. He himself 
lodged in the house of Mr John Cheyne, minister at Kintore. Balcarras' force threatened 
to give him trouble, chiefly under the command of Major-General Urrie, the repre- 
sentative of two long lines, those of Urrie of Pitfichie, in Monymusk, and Chalmers 
of Aberdeen, but in 1645 a soldier of fortune. 

When the opposing forces approached each other in the Garioch, both sides seem to 
have avoided making an attack. Montrose marched southward ; and the Aberdeen- 
shire Covenanters who — according to their wont — had kept separately quiet while he was 
near, came forth again to execute small reprisals upon the lairds who adhered to him. 
Among others, Hector Abercromby of Fetternear was taken to Fendraught, but soon set 
at liberty. Montrose had been obliged to send the Earl of Airly, who fell sick with him 
when at Kintore to the House of Lethinty, and thereby brought upon it the ire of 
the Forbeses and Erasers. The Lady of Lethinty was Lord Airly's daughter, and next 
year she bravely effected the escape of her brother (whom she very much resembled) from 
prison at St. Andrews, on the night before he was to be executed, by changing clothes 
with him, when she had got leave to pay a visit to him in his cell. 

General Urrie was never allowed by his superiors to attack Montrose ; but was 
ordered north, apparently to go over the country and re-possess it after Montrose's occu- 
pancy. He had to quiet a mutiny at Aberdeen among his soldiers, whom the Com- 
mittee of Estates had left but ill provided. The Burgh of Aberdeen seems to have had 
a good deal to bear on this occasion. Immediately after, on 19th April, Urrie marched 
towards Kintore and Inverurie, and from that to Old Eayne, plundering the lands of 
Newton and Harthill. 

The House of Kemnay — where the first act of violence in the Civil "War was com- 
mitted — seems to have possessed peculiar attractions for the Covenanters. Sir WiHiam 
Forbes took his turn of it now. On the 23 th April, Spalding says he seized and 
garrisoned it, "it being stankit about and of good defenss ". " He plunderit cornes and 
victuallis for his soldiers from the Laird of Kincraigie (probably from Badifurrow, winch 
was his property), and seized his best saddle horse." It would seem from this that the 
Leslies of Badifurrow were like their neighbours at Fetternear, of the King's party. 
Craigievar's visits at that time extended to Newton and Harthill. His booty included 
160 oxen, which he sent to Fife to market. After Montrose's victory at Alford he 

286 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

abandoned Kemnay House, which was then manned hy young Abercrornby of Birken- 
bog. Craigievar had the army at his back at Aberdeen at that time, where Committee 
meetings were again going on, dictating to the parishes and lairds the payments re- 
quired of them. 

Lord Gordon had joined Montrose ere then ; and Lord Aboyne, the Master of 
Napier and Hay of Delgaty (the Earl of Erroll's representative), who had been prisoners 
in England, but broke out of Carlisle, and with 28 horse forced their way through 
General Leslie's forces, also reached the Royalist chief. Probably Earl Marischal began 
about that time to earn the loyalist reputation he afterwards merited. 

Sir Robert Douglas (Peerage) gives an incorrect impression of the conduct of the 
Earl Marischal in the beginning of the "Troubles," when he states that he in 1641 
joined the association in favour of Charles I. at Cumbernauld. He did stand for the 
King afterwards, as more of the early Covenanters did. In 1648 he raised a troop of 
horse for the engagement to attempt the rescue of the King. He escaped from the 
route at Preston; and in 1650 entertained Charles II. at Dunnottar. The Earl Maris- 
chal's younger brother and successor, George, was also at Preston, and fought after- 
, wards at Worcester in behalf of Charles II. 

Severe repiisals followed the acts of violence noted above. Montrose turned and 
pursued after Urrie, whom he overtook and engaged at Auldearn upon 9th May, 1645, 
defeating his forces with very great slaughter'; after which he spoiled and destroyed most 
of the houses and lands of his opponents in Moray and Banffshire. A few days later he 
inflicted another defeat upon Urrie at Afford, and going south gained his last victory 
at Kilsyth, 5th August, after which irretrievable misfortunes overtook the Royal arms, 
and the absolute dominion of the Covenanters began. The two opponents were soon at 
the end of all their battles : Urrie, whose last change was to the Royalist cause, was 
with the Marquis of Montrose when in 1650 he raised the standard of Charles II. He 
was made prisoner along with him, and they went to the scaffold together. 

The Marquis of Montrose was utterly defeated at Philiphaugh on 13th September, 
1645, by General David Leslie, one of the many soldiers trained under Gustavus, King 
of Sweden. He had, in 1644, been appointed Major-General in the Earl of Leven's 
army in England, and was despatched in 1645 to Scotland to check Montrose in the 
career which the Battle of Kilsyth seem to be opening to him. He was the fifth son of 
Patrick, Commendator of Lindores, and himself the first Earl of Newark. The ruins of 
his castle at Newark are a prominent object on the rocks of the East Neuk of Fife. 

Montrose retired after his defeat into the Highlands, where he carried on an 
obscure mountain warfare for about a year, and disbanded his army only at the 
urgent command of the King, who was then in the hands of the Earl of Leven's army, 
and afraid for the safety of Ms chivalrie general. With a few adherents, who were too 
obnoxious to the Covenanting chiefs to surrender with safety, he escaped to Norway 
3rd September, 1646. 

Incidents of the Troubles. 287 

Two months after Montrose's defeat the Marquis of Huntly took the field a^ain 
with his own following, which ho had kept back in the time of greatest need — all but a 
body of them which his son, Lord Gordon, persuaded to join the brave leader with him. 
In January, 1646, the Estates had to watch the movements of both chiefs, and for that 
purpose sent General Middleton to occupy Aberdeen. In April that officer had to march 
against Montrose then engaged in the siege of Inverness. On 13th May, Huntly was 
again in the Garioch. He mustered his forces at Inverurie and Kintore. Colonel Mont- 
gomerie, left in Aberdeen with a regiment of foot and another of horse, made a sudden 
attack upon the Gordons but was repulsed with loss, and followed to Aberdeen, where 
Lord Aboyne, getting entrance into the town through a part which had been set on fire, 
made a furious charge upon Montgomerie's force and put it to utter rout with consider- 
able slaughter, taking three hundred prisoners, sixteen colours, and a large quantity of 
ammunition, he himself losing but twenty men. 

This Eoyalist victory came too late, the King having already surrendered himself, 
and having as a consequence to order Huntly to lay down his arms, as he afterwards 
with difficulty got Montrose to do. Huntly, whose estates were in the hands of his 
relative and enemy the Marquis of Argyll, was a doomed man from that date. He was 
excepted in a pardon granted in 1647 to so-called rebels, and escaped to hide himself in 
Strathnaven. A proclamation had, however ,been hanging over his head since 1644 of 
a reward decreed by a Committee of Estates sitting in Aberdeen for delivery of his body 
living or dead. The reward was 12,000 lbs., chargeable upon the Marquis' estates, and it 
was paid at Inverary by the Marquis of Argyll, 24th June, 1648, to Colonel James 
Fraser, and Huntly was in March, 1649, tried at Edinburgh and beheaded at the Market 
Cross. The slaughter of the King in January made meaner blood easily shed. 


We have not on record much of personal details, beyond what has been incidentally 
noticed, illustrating the manners prevailing during the internecine strife which afflicted 
the 17th century. Alexander Jaffray's Diary, however, affords some interesting items 
of individual experience of the time. 

The son of the Wadsetter of Ardtannies and Caskieben — Alexander Jaffray, the 
younger — was a sufferer in the strife, and behaved in a manner sufficiently creditable. 
Spalding narrates that upon Tuesday, 19th March, 1644, the young laird of Drum, 
Eobert Irvine, his brother, the lairds of Haddo, Gicht, and some others, about the 
number of sixty horses, about seven hours in the morning, came galloping through the 
Old Town to .New Aberdeen, and suddenly took Provost Leslie, Mr. Eobert Farquhar, and 
Alexander Jaffray, late baillies, and John Jaffray, Dean of Guild, his brother, out of their 
houses, and had them to Skipper Anderson's house. It is said that there was plundered, 
out of Alexander Jaffray's house, some gold rings and chains, but little money. They 
missed Mr. Alexander Jaffray (the father), for he was not in the town. 

288 Inverurie and the Earldom of the Garioch. 

Jaffray in his diary narrates : — 

They carried us to Strathbogy Castle, where we were kept ten or twelve clays ; after we were sent 
to Auchiudoun Castle, and left there five weeks close prisoners, until, by the Marquis of Argyle's com- 
ing north, the Marquis of Huntly aud his freinds quitted the field ; himself came to Auchindoun, where 
any little treasure he had was ; and fearing that the keeping of us prisone